Daylan Jernigan has had a dream to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes ever since he started playing at seven years old. He wants colleges to see the dog in him on the field.
His journey leading up to his years as an upperclassman at St. Edward High School of Lakewood, Ohio did not come without challenges.
He has lost many of his friends and this motivates him to play the game now.
“I’m letting them live through me,” he said.
The 5-foot-10, 188 pound junior safety hails from Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up on East 105th Street between the avenues of Superior and St. Clair. 10-5 is what they call it. In the Glenville community, it was rough for him because he saw a lot of his friends die without even finishing high school.
Despite the bad, the silver lining for Daylan Jernigan is that he takes pride in saying that he lives and thrives in that area with the help and support of his mother.
“I’d probably say the loss of friends but this year [it is mental toughness]. Making one bad play and not being too down on myself because you have to live to see another down at St. Edward’s. Every day you have to go in with the mindset that you have to win this day. You have to win this day every day,” he said about the toughest things he has to overcome.
Daylan Jernigan has no scholarship offers coming into the 2018 season but he has high interest in Ohio State, Michigan, Toledo, Youngstown State and Ball State.
As far as his thoughts on the recruiting process goes, he knows he has to have a good or great junior year and the offers will come as a result. He has a team first mentality so he doesn’t get hung up in worrying about scholarship offers he said.
“I believe in playing the game and your love for the game is going to carry over. It’s just going to happen for you. Walk by faith, not by sight type of thing. I’m just looking forward to, you know, making big plays. …I want my game to speak for itself. I’m not going to sell myself short or anything like that. Just make big plays and let my film talk for me. Then, that following summer, get into the camps, run a good forty time, good shuttle, stuff like that.”
Daylan Jernigan on film is a hard hitter, fast and has good ball skills. He models his game after Kam Chancellor and said that he lives for big hits. Coming downhill, blitzing and having the opportunity to score off of an interception are some things he enjoys about playing the position.
“The best [part] of my game, every athlete wants to say that they can do it all. That’s how I’m feeling, that’s how much confidence I have in myself. Probably the best part – knowing the play before the ball is snapped,” he said. “I’m a strength type of guy. I live in the weight room, I live in the film room …just instinct. How can I [act on] instinct? When I don’t know what’s going on, I just let my instincts take over and I play ball from there. I would say instinct.”
He knows that he needs work on his attitude out on the field and communication in order to be a better teammate. What he has learned from this past offseason is the old saying, ‘It’s not how you start, it is how you finish.’ He added to that, every day is an interview. Life is an interview.
In terms of what he can bring to a university on and off the field, he had this to say.
“Everybody compliments me on my passion for the game. On the football side, being energetic, being loud, and getting [ready] for the game. Everyone looks for me to make a big play. I make plays that change the game, everyone tells me I’m a game changer. I’m really passionate about and the game. Off the field, like I said earlier, I like to teach people. Whatever knowledge I have I like to give it back so, you know, teaching others and passing it down.”
Daylan Jernigan now has the opportunity to become the leader of St. Edward Eagles defense. His first opportunity to do so will be when the Eagles play the McDowell High School Trojans Friday August 25 at 7pm EST.