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Moving Up, Taase Jennings to AFL2
Ryan Buchan, Islanders Staff Writer
June. 20, 2008

Minor league football helps players continue their passion of football after all other roads are closed. The league is full of many former college and high school players who never made it to the next level. But for Islander tackle, Taase Jennings, minor league football gave him a chance to get to the level that he could not get to before.
Jennings left the Islanders to pursue professional dreams, and moved onto play for the Stockton Lightning in the Arena Football 2. If “someone used this level as a stepping stone, more power to him” said, Jason Piccolotti, quarterback and co-founder of the Islanders.
Jennings has already made an impact for his new team starting in two games and not allowing a sack. “Trying to help the team, do my part and have camaraderie,” Jennings said. “Do what I have to do to go far.”
Jennings is already starting to pave the path to fulfill his NFL dreams. Jennings was invited to attend the Philadelphia Eagles training camp after he finishes his season in Stockton. In Philadelphia he will have the opportunity to compete for chance to protect Donovan McNabb. A “good thing about an arena team, is that it’s a lot quicker. A lot of the NFL is pass blocking. That is majority of what you do in the AFL,” Jennings said.
A challenge that many of Jennings’ former teammates and coaches with Islanders think he will meet. “If he keeps perfecting his craft, getting better every day, he has the opportunity to keep moving on up” said Mike Tito, offensive line coach and player, for the Islanders. Head coach Jack Burgett is excited for the opportunity Jennings has and said, “As a coach I think he has the ability to make it happen.” “I think he well deserves it,” Piccolotti said. “He should have been there from the get go.”

Jennings has the build of your typical NFL linemen. He was listed on the Islanders roster as being 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 350 pounds. Jennings combines his size with great athleticism, and aggression. “He is a big man and he can run,” Tito said. “He plays aggressive all the time.”
Jennings brings his great athleticism to a Stockton team that has been struggling with a record of 2-9. Jennings experience as winner may also be an important addition to the Lightning lineup. He won the 2003 California state championship with City College of San Francisco. In 2006 he was part of the San Jose State team that rose out of the gutters and won the New Mexico Bowl. With the Islanders he helped the undefeated team win the Central Valley Football League championship with a decisive 47-0 victory over the Central-Cal Crusaders.
For the Islanders it may be difficult to lose such a dominate force on their line. “We will miss his presence on the line,” Burgett said. “Not only when he is in Stockton but if he makes it in Philadelphia.” The Islanders however feel that they will be able to overcome his departure. “Everyone who has played there has played at a high level, Piccolotti said. “Our depth is pretty amazing,” said Tito.
The Islanders are happy to see Jennings pursue better things, and see it as a great example of what this league can do for young players. “It gives the opportunity for other young men to see this,” said Tito.



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