Bryson Jennings continues football career in Chapel Hill



Bryson Jennings signed a letter of intent to play football for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earlier this year.

Cabot Butts, Staff Writer

After four years, senior Bryson Jennings walked across the stage at the Siegel Center in a ceremony that took place on Monday, May 17. His four years are highlighted by his play as a defensive end on the football team, one that led him to sign a letter of intent earlier this year to play at the University of North Carolina (UNC).

Jennings attributes his athletic and academic success to pushing through during tough times. He feels that being able to keep working and pushing forward during those times has been key in preparing him the most for his next challenge in Chapel Hill. 

“Overcoming adversity, both athletically and academically, has prepared me the most,” Jennings said. “Whether it’s struggling to win a game during the season, or trying to pull up low grades, it all ultimately taught me to keep working and keep pushing forward.” 

Jennings’ success in the classroom did not come without obstacles. He attributes his hopefully smooth transition to college to what he has been able to learn throughout high school.

“The many lessons high school [has] taught me will make it a smooth transition,” Jennings said. “My most important lesson academically would be just to stay focused and do what you’ve got to do.” 

Jennings has high expectations for his athletic journey at UNC. He feels that hard work, like what he showed during his four years at Clover Hill, will ultimately help him to become an instrumental player to the defensive line.

“I expect to play a lot as a freshman, and keep up the same production I had in high school at the next level,” Jennings said. “I look forward to suiting up on game days and playing in front of thousands of people.” 

While Jennings shows his excitement for the next step at UNC, he also realizes that there will be things he misses about The Hill. Some things, he says, cannot be replicated anywhere outside of Clover Hill. 

“I’ll definitely miss the people the most,” Jennings said. “Not being able to see my closest friends will be a difficult adjustment.” 

When talking about the people he will miss the most, Jennings discussed the teacher who has had the most impact and influence on him throughout his time at Clover Hill. 

“In my four years at Clover Hill, I would have to say [that] Mrs. Kline had the biggest impact on my success academically,” Jennings said. “She always gave me confidence and inspired me to do better in the classroom. I’m truly thankful [that] I had her as my teacher.”

Gail Kline, who Jennings had as his ninth grade English teacher, had much to say about Jennings’ academic success in his freshman year. She commends Jennings for his work ethic, as well as his ability to turn in work on time.

“He’s a hard worker,” Kline said. “He is a young man of integrity; nothing about his character was ever called into question. If he didn’t turn something in, or didn’t do something, he owned it. He’s never made any excuses, and I believe that’s why he’s so good on the football field.”

While Jennings believes that Kline made a big impact on him, Kline is not so quick to realize that contribution. She believes that the tables were turned.

“I don’t see myself as making an impact on him,” Kline said. “I feel that he made a greater impact on me. He’s so personable, so maybe that’s why he and I were able to make that connection.” 

Kline says that Jennings’ football career never affected his academic performance. She says that she would be unaware he was even playing football if not for people telling her. 

“He was always able to manage both his academic work with what was required of him on the field,” Kline said. “It just translates [for him], from the field to the classroom. He’s adopted this philosophy that nothing’s going to be handed to him, and I value that in people.” 

Being a UNC fan herself, Kline has some advice for Jennings from one Tar Heel (by allegiance) to another. She always wants Jennings to be himself and to always treat everyone with respect, just like she says he has always done. 

“I would tell Bryson to never forget where [he] came from,” Kline said. “As long as you’re compassionate, kind, and you speak well of people who have been part of your life, you will be met with success.”

Jennings’ goals at UNC stretch far further than just football, however. He also shares his academic goals, including what he plans to major, and also what kind of career he wants.

“Academically, I’ll be studying architecture,” Jennings said. “I will also be interning with architects in the area.”

Over the last four years, Jennings has shown that he can both perform at a high level on the football field, and stay on top of his schoolwork in the classroom. Add those together and Jennings is set for a very successful next four years in Chapel Hill. 

Jennings will begin his academic journey at UNC in the fall. On the football side, Jennings and the Tar Heels will start their 2022 season on Aug. 27 against Florida A&M.