USF OL Donovan Jennings has spoken 'a lot' with NY Jets in pre-draft process

Donovan Jennings details his football journey and the upcoming NFL Draft
Donovan Jennings
Donovan Jennings / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets are keeping a close eye on a number of offensive line prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft, and one player who seems to have caught their attention is USF offensive lineman Donovan Jennings.

A six-year starter at USF, Jennings appeared in a school-record 55 career games in college, making him one of the most experienced offensive line prospects in this year's draft.

While he played almost exclusively left tackle in college, many teams see Jennings as more of a guard prospect at the next level. He showcased his versatility at the East-West Shrine Bowl and recorded a stellar 9.68 RAS at his pro day.

Jennings is a versatile, athletic, and experienced offensive line prospect who could be a target for the Jets on Day 3. As it turns out, he's spoken "a lot" to the Jets in the pre-draft process.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the former USF star about his football journey and the NFL Draft process.

Below is only a partial transcription of our interview. To watch the interview in its entirety, be sure to click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don't miss out on any additional content.

Dreams of playing in the NFL

Justin Fried: "You were a three-star recruit coming out of high school, lettering in both football and basketball. Was football always your dream growing up?"

Donovan Jennings: "Growing up I was a big basketball fan. I played it since the age of five. I played travel ball and always played as a kid at the park. I played until high school and then my junior year of high school came around. The football coach sees me on the court and is like ‘You’re a big boy. You can move pretty well.’ I made the decision to stop playing basketball and go out on the field. I really started to develop my senior year. I was blessed to receive a few Division I offers — Nebraska, UCF, Temple, and USF."

Why did Donovan Jennings choose USF?

JF: "You received a few other offers from schools, but you ultimately went with USF. Of course, USF is very close to where you grew up in Tampa, but what went into your decision to attend South Florida?"

DJ: "I just wanted a school where it was easy for my family to attend games. The support from my family and friends has really helped me throughout my career. That was a big reason why I chose to play football at USF."

Did Donovan Jennings ever consider transferring?

JF: "You had a wild ride at USF, suffering through a lot of losing seasons and a ton of different coaching staffs. Did you ever consider transferring at any point, especially after [former head coach] Charlie Strong left?"

DJ: "No, not really. One thing Coach [Charlie] Strong told me when I got there was ‘Finish what you start.’ That’s really what I wanted to do. I never really thought of transferring. I always knew that USF would someday just be back rolling, and this last year set the foundation for years to come."

Returning from injury in 2023

JF: "I want to take it back to the 2022 season. You return as the starting left tackle, start the first four games, you suffer a broken leg, and miss the rest of the year. Talk to me about your mindset after that, and how difficult it must’ve been, not only physically to rehab and get back on the field but also mentally."

DJ: "Being that that was the first time I had ever watched a USF game on TV, it was a surreal moment for me. I was watching from my couch at home, cheering on my team. It just made me realize that you don’t want to waste the time you have. It made me realize the game of football can be taken away from you like that at any moment. I just have to continue working hard every day, knowing it’s going to pay off. You have to grind every day. It’s going to get better, it just takes time."

Donovan Jennings' experience at the East-West Shrine Bowl

JF: "You had the opportunity to participate in the Shrine Bowl this year. What was that whole experience like for you?"

DJ: "It was honestly a blessing. East-West put on a great game in a great venue. Everything about it was first class. I was able to talk to guys like Michael Vick. Frank Gore Jr., I was blocking for him which is awesome. Just to be able to play in front of a crowd like that in that type of environment, I’m blessed."

Is Donovan Jennings a guard or a tackle?

JF: "You played almost exclusively left tackle in college, but you were playing a lot of guard at the Shrine Bowl. What has that transition been like for you and do you think teams see you as more of a guard or a tackle prospect?"

DJ: "I played nothing but guard [at the Shrine Bowl]. I was able to show I can play guard at a high level. It shows my versatility as a player. I’ve been playing left tackle my whole career, so obviously I’d feel most comfortable there. I feel comfortable at either tackle spot. But going there and playing guard, I was happy to show I can do both."

Donovan Jennings on his experience advantage

JF: "You played a school-record 55 games over six years at USF. How much do you think that experience will help you at the next level?"

DJ: "I think it would help me a lot. I’ve been exposed to a lot of different offensive schemes and a lot of different coaching tips. I’ve had five different offensive line coaches. I have the ability to learn quickly and adapt to whatever scheme comes my way. It’s definitely a good thing."

Donovan Jennings on meeting with the NY Jets and other NFL teams

JF: "I visited with the Vikings and did the Bucs’ local day as well. I’ve got another one coming up with the Patriots. I’ve definitely spoken to the Jets a lot. I know I spoke to their scouts at the Shrine Bowl."