Soon, his teammates may have to return the favor.
After recently completing his second year as a starter, and leading Marietta to the second round of the Class AAAAA state tournament, Jennings saw his notoriety grow nationally. He won most valuable player honors last month in the Atlanta Elite 11 regional camp at Buford High School.
Jennings, a rising junior, competed with 86 different quarterbacks from 19 states and earned a spot in the Elite 11 finals, which will be held in Southern California in July.
The success has attracted college scouts to Marietta’s practices, and Jennings has attracted 16 scholarship offers according to Marietta coach Scott Burton. The list of suitors includes such schools as West Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Florida, Mississippi State, Mississippi, Syracuse and North Carolina.
The Blue Devils concluded spring practice Friday, and the extra pairs of eyes looking on weren’t lost on Burton. Jennings’ success and newfound national attention is benefiting other players in the program as well.
“Anthony’s success has definitely helped lead to good things for some of our other players,” he said. “We’ve had some visitors and college recruiters come by to see Anthony. While they’re looking at him, other kids are being evaluated, too. The kids get excited to see the different hats and logos on the jerseys, and they play harder, hoping to get noticed. It’s a good motivator for them.”
With an emphasis on the offensive and defensive lines during spring practice, Marietta’s linemen are expected to be evaluated as college coaches look on.
“We have a significant number of returning starters along the line,” Burton said. “We have four on the offensive line and three on defense. We’re relying on those kids this year. They’re an investment in the program and have to work cohesively as a unit for us to be successful.
“You’re always looking to get a competitive edge during spring practice. It’s like a laboratory situation where we want to get the kids to improve. Having these recruiters around increases the intensity of practice. It helps allow us, as coaches, to make major personnel evaluations and see what these kids can do.”
Also getting noticed are other skill players like rising senior wide receivers Tyree Harris and Kenny Norwood. As Jennings’ primary downfield targets, good production from them during practice is sure to pay off down the road.
“Tyree has several scholarship offers already, but could get more as we progress,” Burton said. “What’s really special about Anthony is that he understands that he’s under the microscope now. He understands that his success drives more attention to the team.
“He doesn’t let what’s going on with him prevent other kids to shine. He hasn’t let that success keep him from making sure that the whole team gets seen by the scouts that come to look at him.”