Head football coaching position ‘dream come true’ for Jernigan
EUFAULA, Ala. (WSFA) - Eufaula native Jerrel Jernigan has enjoyed a successful athletic career. A standout for the Tigers in the 2000s, Jernigan went on to become one of the most dynamic wide receivers in Troy University’s athletic history, shattering records before playing four years in the NFL with the New York Giants, winning a Super Bowl.
With all that he’s done on the gridiron as a player, being named head football coach at his high school alma mater means, possibly, a bit more to the Super Bowl champ.
“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. I’m from there, played there...so this is a dream come true to actually be able to come back home, be the hometown guy, and be the head guy.”
Coaching isn’t something Jernigan ever thought he would get into. He was still in his 20s when he hit NFL Free Agency, and was working out, trying to make a roster before he got a call from former Eufaula head football coach Bryan Moore.
“Bryan asked me to come out and coach receivers, ‘cause he didn’t have anybody, and I went out for a spring and after that it was history,” said Jernigan.
That was six years ago, and now Jernigan is the head coach of the Tigers, taking over after Ed Rigby left to take the same role at Pike Road. Jernigan says he plans to take things he learned from both Moore and Rigby and add to his coaching skillset.
“I learned a lot from those guys and that’s from like film study, breaking down film,” he said. “I learned a lot from both of them, so I’m gone take a lot of information from those guys and use it to my advantage.”
Once the announcement was made Tuesday on Twitter, Jernigan said his phone was blowing up with text messages and phone calls from old teammates and coaches. Jernigan said event the entire current Troy University coaching staff reached out. One more person reached out, Eufaula native and current Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead.
“He just text me saying congratulations, he’s proud of me. He was supporting me and he’s in my corner and now it’s time to get to work,” said Jernigan.
Jernigan is Troy’s all-time leader in receiving yards (3,128), pass receptions (262) and pass receptions per game. He also won Super Bowl XVLI with the New York Giants in 2012.
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