Jamal was born in Orlando, Florida, but with a dad in the Army, you could say he's from everywhere.
After his father's retirement, Jamal's family returned to Orlando, where he attended high school. In 2000, he enrolled at the University of Florida in Gainesville and became involved in several campus and community organizations. These activities laid the groundwork for his election as student body president from 2004–2005 — an achievement notable for two reasons. It was the last time a candidate from outside the university's Greek system "beat the establishment."