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FSU commit player analysis: What Branden Jennings brings to the ’Noles

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The Monster of Sandalwood, an FSU Football Commit Profile

Branden Jennings
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On Friday, the Florida State football team received a huge commit from linebacker Branden Jennings. The legacy recruit is a top-50 player nationally and will battle for 5-star status this year.

In Jennings’ commit article, we provided the following scouting report:

Scouting report:

I have two words to describe Jennings: snot bubbles. Jennings has bad intentions every time he steps on the field and often takes his anger out on an opposing ball carrier.

The first trait you see on the field is his size and length. Jennings is an imposing LB, as he has NFL size for the position. He uses this size and length well when taking on a blocker in the hole, scraping and taking on an offensive linemen, or decleating a RB. He does not sacrifice much speed or athleticism for a LB his size.

Jennings has fantastic instincts for the LB position. You see clips of him getting skinny on a blitz or spot dropping and coverage and he finds himself being successful time and time again. This is a player who has clearly grown up around football his whole life. Blitzing and spot dropping are not easy skills for all players, but Jennings is great at it.

Finally, Jennings plays with great leverage on the football. He rarely finds himself in the same hole as another defender, scraping well and working downhill constantly. The thing I like most is he is an outside-in defender and fits very well on ball carriers not allowing for cutbacks, spin moves, or any other moves. This is a LB who makes plays consistently because he is in the right place.

Physicality, instincts, and leverage are the three things that jump off of Jennings’ highlight reel. The clips below show this the best.

Jennings’ Hudl highlights begin with a bang. We see Jennings on a run blitz. He is a massive linebacker prospect as a young junior, and it shows on this play. This is what we refer to as a de-cleater. Jennings does a nice job of shooting the gap, being under control and violent on contact. He finishes the play with a massive stick.

In clip #2, Jennings is dropping in coverage and reroutes a receiver right off his feet. This type of athleticism, physicality, and instincts is important for a three-down linebacker. Jennings does a nice job getting depth to the hook/curl zone and then reading the quarterback’s eyes. He sees the quarterback looking for an escape route, reroutes the slot wide receiver, and then drives on the quarterback. This is what separates the good from the great.

In clip #3, we get a glimpse at a good run-fit. Jennings has flow right at him and fits into the open window. He comes downhill with a physical presence, prepared to take on an offensive lineman (who completely whiffs on the block) and then stops the back in his tracks. This leverage is important because Jennings could have flowed wider and the back would have gone for a big play. This is the type of inside-out play you want from an elite linebacker.

In clip #4, Jennings displays his leverage skills again. Watch as he plays inside-out on the football, canceling each gap and staying on the back hip of the running back. By staying on the running backs back hip, he eliminates the cut back or spin move. Tackling is a lost art in football, but Jennings fits with his head across and finishes strongly.

Branden Jennings is the type of star you can build your entire defense around. Defensive Coordinator Adam Fuller has to be salivating at the opportunity of adding Jennings’ style of play to the defense. While at FSU, Branden Jennings’ father Bradley Jennings was nicknamed “Monster.” A fitting nickname for his style and the style of many legendary linebackers that have played in Tallahassee. With his abilities, Branden Jennings is already on his way to living up to his Twitter handle, Godzilla, “The King of the Monsters.”

All highlights were pulled from Jennings’ junior season Hudl video.