Jonathan Jones, who is considered “Georgia’s fastest football recruit,” recently picked up an offer from reigning BCS champion Auburn and visited Georgia Tech earlier this week.
The 5-foot-10 1/2 cornerback from Carrollton High School is a track star who led his team to a state championship last month and is a candidate for the Junior Olympics in the hurdles. Jones, who has a 3.7 GPA, prefers a future in football and is a three-year starter for one of Georgia’s top high school programs. He has around a dozen early scholarship offers and will begin to narrow down after visiting both Tennessee and Florida State next month.
“In my 26 years, I don’t think I’ve ever had a corner as good as Jonathan — that has that tenacity with hitting and tackling and that kind of speed,” Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague told the AJC. “I’ve had guys who had more picks but not a kid that is the total package like Jonathan. The sky is the limit for him. He’s a great kid and a great competitor. There’s no doubt he’s a Div. I corner because of his speed and hips. But he hits like a Div. I safety, which makes him kind of special.”
Jones auditioned for an offer at Auburn camp earlier this month and earned one — after blowing away the coaches with his speed and football smarts. “Ted Roof, the defensive coordinator, said one of the things they do at camp is sit down and go over strategy and schemes. He was amazed with how quickly Jonathan picked up everything so quickly.”
The next trips for the speedster will be Tennessee on July 18, and Florida State on July 19.
“I don’t really have any leaders right now,” Jones told the AJC. “But once I visit Tennessee and Florida State, and see if they offer me or not, then I will have a better idea about everything. As far as my current offers, I’m really liking Auburn, Mississippi State and Georgia Tech.”
Georgia Tech covets Jones and was one of his first offers. He toured the campus on Monday. “It went really well,” Jones said. “I got to hang out with the coaches and look around. I like how Georgia Tech is not rushing me. They told me they would stick with me until the end. They know I want to check out all my options before I make my decision, and they respect that.”
What about UGA? Said Teague: “My understanding is that the defensive coordinator, being a pro guy, wants bigger corners, the 6-1 and 6-2 guys. Jonathan is too short for them at 5-10 1/2. They just don’t think he’s tall enough. That was their deal.”
Georgia’s top-rated defensive backs in the recruiting rankings are St. Pius’ Geno Smith (Alabama and Auburn are co-leaders) and Creekside’s Josh Holsey (committed to Auburn). Jones, who has missed numerous college camps and prospect combines in recent months due to his track obligations, is also emerging as a national prospect at the position. Said Teague, “I think Geno is a little bit taller and has great ball skills. I think Jonathan is faster and Jonathan hits harder.”
One thing that is not debatable is the blistering speed of Jones. Last month, he finished first in the 110-meter hurdles (14.02 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles (37.39) and won the Class AAA all-points trophy, while leading Carrollton to its second team championship in a row. This summer, Jones is touring the country for track, including meets in California and North Carolina. He registered a personal record of 13.72 in the 110 at the New Balance Outdoor Invitational.
Jones could go to about any college for track but prefers football.
“It’s just what I grew up doing,” Jones explained. “I started playing football at the age of four. It’s something I just love to do. With track, people saw that I was fast and said ‘go run track.’ But football is in my heart.”
Last year as a junior, Jones helped Carrollton’s football team reach the Class AAA state championship, where it was edged out by Sandy Creek 14-7. Some of his other offers are from Stanford, Kentucky, Boston College, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin. Asked if there was any other school that isn’t recruiting him that he wished would, Jones replied, “LSU.”
What do I think? There’s a lot to like about Jonathan Jones. His speed is well-documented. The video below is his newest, and there are plays on there against very good competition where JJ makes it look like everybody else is in slow motion. Toward the middle of the tape, you can see what his coach means by saying that Jones will be a D1 DB but hits like a D1 safety, although other video of Jones shows it better. He’s definitely not afraid to hit. This is not football, but I like how at the state track meet he was in the spotlight and had a ton of pressure on him to perform well; he met or exceeded all expectations there, and has continued to have success on the regional/national level this summer. I like how he carries himself, not some rah-rah “hey-look-at-me” but rather an unassuming and humble kid. I absolutely love his academic achievements (Stanford offer) and character (recently named permanent team captain in HS). I like his size. If I’m a college football coach, I like that Jones can put it on cruise control to just about anywhere on a track scholarship, yet hungers to play football. And I just keep going back to that speed, speed, speed — you can’t coach it. In my opinion, I think Jonathan Jones is most certainly one of the top overall college prospects in the state of Georgia. I think his coach said it best with “total package.” I think he already has some great offers — and that he is about to get more.
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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog Got a recruiting item? firstname.lastname@example.org
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