FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — University of Arkansas football head coach Bret Bielema announced Thursday the hiring of Clay Jennings as defensive backs coach. Jennings, who earned a reputation as TCU's ace recruiter, brings 16 years of coaching in the secondary and more than a decade at schools in the state of Texas to the position.
"I'm thrilled to add Clay Jennings to our staff as his experience blends well with our defensive coaches' philosophy and terminology," Coach Bielema said. "He was an instrumental part of a defensive unit at TCU known for giving an opposing offense a variety of looks while keeping schemes simple for their own players. In addition, his knowledge of the recruiting landscape in Texas will be a great benefit to our program."
Jennings joined the TCU football staff as cornerbacks coach in January 2008. In his first three seasons with the Horned Frogs, TCU led the nation in total defense. From 2008-10, TCU became just the third program in NCAA history to lead the nation in total defense in three consecutive seasons.
In 2012, Jennings coached Jason Verrett to All-America honors in addition to being the San Antonio Express-News Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Verrett was also tabbed by CollegeFootballNews.com as the nation's top cornerback. He topped the Big 12 in interceptions (six) and passes defended (22) while being the only player nationally to rank in the top 10 in both categories. Verrett and Greg McCoy, a 2012 draft pick of the Chicago Bears, earned All-Mountain West honors in 2011. Jason Teague was a 2010 second-team All-MWC selection.
Both Rafael Priest and Nick Sanders were first-team All-MWC picks in 2009. Priest was ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's sixth-best cornerback, while Sanders was tabbed by Sporting News as the MWC's hardest hitter. The duo also received all-conference accolades in 2008.