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ODU Transfer WR Ali Jennings Discusses His Journey to Virginia Tech

All Jennings 1 ACC Kickoff 2023 From ACC
Photo Credit: Pool Photographer at ACC Kickoff

There was no bigger transfer addition for Virginia Tech this offseason than Old Dominion transfer WR Ali Jennings.

The Richmond native was a big Hokies' fan growing up yet didn't get a VT offer coming out of high school choosing West Virginia before transferring to the Monarchs after two seasons at WVU.

Once at ODU, Jennings became a star with 116 catches for 2,025 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns plus an average of 17.5 yards per reception in 22 games. He also has had 85+ receiving yards in 10 of his last 13 games proving to be a big time playmaker who is ready to make a big splash in his return to the Power 5 level for his final collegiate season.

That made him one of the top wide receivers in the transfer portal with tons of Power 5 offers plus major recruiting services rating him as a four-star transfer. However, Virginia Tech was able to stave off the competition and land one of the portal's best available wide receivers.

So what led to Jennings choosing the Hokies? Here's what he had to say at ACC Kickoff.

"It was really my visit, it was the first visit I took when I entered the portal. Just getting around a few of the players, the support staff and the coaches; the environment was just addictive," Jennings said.

"When you walk in the facility and everyone's greeting you and you see how high energy everyone is and how much everyone enjoys being around each other, it hooked me. That was one of the big things that I wanted to go to when I chose my new school. When I was there, I was like 'I don't want to leave this place', and it was close to home for my family to come see my games so that was definitely big to me."

Another reason why he chose the Hokies was the fact that he had lots of trust in offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen including being able to dive deep into the ins and outs of Bowen's offense and the whys of it as Jennings told us.

"Being able to pick his brain and talk to him about the offense. It was one of the reasons why I committed to Virginia Tech because of my trust in him and I know he's going to do the best for the team," Jennings said.

As mentioned above, Jennings grew up a big Hokies' fan and wanted to play for the Orange and Maroon yet didn't get an offer coming out of high school. That gave Jennings a chip on his shoulder wanting to prove that Tech should have offered him including last season when he put on a show with 5 catches for 122 yards in ODU's upset of VT.

"I didn't (have a VT offer out of high school) and that's why I had a chip on my shoulder going into last season's game, because I felt like I earned it. My high school coach would bring us to the camps. My actual high school coach, Coach (Loren Johnson) was a Virginia Tech alum, he played for Virginia Tech. They didn't offer me and they didn't offer a few other guys, and it felt kind of like a slap in the face, but that's just the way things go. They recruited other guys and some of those guys are my teammates now, and I see why they recruited them, they're pretty good players," Jennings said.

Of course, Ali Jennings now is getting his chance to be a star for a team he dreamed of playing for growing up, Virginia Tech. With that in mind, Jennings is full of gratitude an amazement at how his collegiate career has come full circle for him to get one season playing for the Hokies.

"It's full circle honestly just my journey of me having to go out-of-state to go play at a school, coming back in-state to a smaller school and then playing that school that I always wanted to go to. And now playing for that school, it's mind-blowing because a lot of people in my sport playing college football don't get to have opportunities like this, just to keep getting opportunities to go to different schools and make a name for themselves at new places. It's been exciting and I'm glad I finally got to end up here," Jennings said.

It's been a long road for Ali Jennings to get to play for his dream school Virginia Tech after not getting a VT offer, going to West Virginia to start his career, and then transferring to Old Dominion and developing into a star playmaker. There's no doubt that when Jennings takes the field for the Hokies for the first time, he has absolutely earned his place with Brent Pry rectifying the in-state recruiting miss by Justin Fuente.

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