Clay Jennings

COACHING EXPERIENCE 
Jennings has established himself as one of the top defensive coaches in the nation, having coached a whopping 9 NFL defensive backs during their college years.

On December 22, 2016, Jennings was named Co-Defensive Coordinator by new head Coach Major Applewhite.

Having spent 13 season coaching in the state of Texas including a previous two-year stint at UH (2005-06), Jennings arrives in Houston after one season as Texas’ defensive backs coach and two in the same position at Arkansas. In a defense that ranked 12th in the nation against the run in 2015, seven of Jennings' defensive backs ranked among the top 10 on the team in tackles. That group combined for nine tackles for loss, while producing nine interceptions and 30 pass breakups. For the second straight year, Jared Collins led the unit in breakups with nine after tying for the SEC lead with 13 in 2014.

That year, Jennings helped the Razorbacks finish 10th in the nation in both scoring and total defense, as the team allowed just 19.2 points and 323.4 yards per game. Arkansas finished in the top 40 in passing yards allowed for the first time since 2011, surrendering just 208.8 passing yards per game to rank 37th. The Razorback secondary helped hold Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper of Alabama to just two receptions for 22 yards, his lowest output of the season.

Jennings joined the TCU football staff as cornerbacks coach in 2008. In his first three seasons with the Horned Frogs, TCU led the nation in total defense. And, from 2008-10, TCU became just the third program in NCAA history to lead the nation in total defense in three consecutive seasons.

While at TCU, Jennings coached 2014 first round NFL Draft pick Jason Verrett, who was taken 25th overall by the San Diego Chargers. Verrett was a two-time All-American in addition to being the Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the conference’s head coaches in 2013 and the San Antonio Express-News Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. He was also tabbed by CollegeFootballNews.com as the nation’s top cornerback. He topped the Big 12 in interceptions (six) and passes defensed (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 All-MWC second team 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.

Jennings went to the Horned Frogs after serving as the cornerbacks coach at Baylor in 2007.

Jennings worked two seasons (2005-06) as the safeties coach at Houston. He helped the Cougars to back-to-back bowl appearances and the 2006 Conference USA championship. In 2006, Cougars’ free safety Will Gulley earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors while Brandon Brinkley was named to the league’s all-freshman squad. In his first season at Houston, Jennings helped Rocky Schwartz earn Conference USA third-team all-conference honors and Kenneth Fontenette be named an honorable-mention Freshman All-American by Sporting News.

Prior to his two-year stint at Houston, Jennings spent two seasons (2003-04) as the defensive backs coach at Louisiana, where he helped the Ragin’ Cajuns to a No. 11 national ranking in pass defense. At Louisiana, Jennings tutored C.C. Brown and Michael Adams, who each had seven-year NFL careers for various teams. Jennings also mentored Antwain Spann, who played three seasons for the New England Patriots.

Jennings also worked two years (2001-02) as secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Sam Houston State. He helped the Bearkats to a share of the 2001 Southland Conference championship and the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs. At SHSU, Jennings coached All-American and Buck Buchanan Award finalist Keith Davis, who played five seasons for the Dallas Cowboys.

Jennings also coached the secondary at Southern Arkansas (2000), Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa (1999) and Morehouse College in Atlanta (1998). At SAU, Jennings mentored Jordan Babineaux, a nine-year NFL veteran who played for the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans. At Morningside, Jennings coached first-team All-American Matt Walker.

EDUCATION 
Jennings is a 1997 North Texas graduate with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

PERSONAL 
Born: November 3, 1973. Family: Jennings and his wife, Belinda, have two children: son Kirby and daughter Kenzie.