Remember the good old days when many high school football stars didn’t get scholarship offers until after their senior seasons?
Those days are long, long gone.
As colleges offer “the next great one” earlier and earlier during the recruiting process and the scholarship spots fill up, it leaves late-blossoming high school seniors against the odds of landing a D1 scholarship.
Malachi Jones, whose older brother plays for Notre Dame, may be in that type of situation. After playing at Wesleyan the last two years, Jones transferred to Central Gwinnett High School for his senior season. He’s had a breakout season with 55 catches for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games.
“He’s creeping in there as a senior and showing colleges what he can do,” Central Gwinnett coach Todd Wofford told the AJC. “If he had the film out there that he has now last year when he was a junior, I think he would have a ton of offers.”
As for now, Jones is still waiting for his first football offer, despite having an older brother (TJ Jones) that plays D1 football, and at least four teammates at Central Gwinnett with D1 offers.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Jones has a 3.5 GPA and has sparked curiosity from Notre Dame, Purdue, Michigan State, UCLA, UMass, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Duke. Jones said his dream school is Notre Dame, but they have only mentioned the possibility of being a walk-on for now.
How does Malachi compare with his brother? He’s not as fast, but has a bigger frame and maybe better hands. “They say I’m a possession receiver and I run crisper routes,” Malachi said. “I learned my route running from my brother, so that makes sense.”
Malachi and TJ are the sons of former Notre Dame standout Andre Jones, who died unexpected from a brain aneurysm this past July at the age of 42. It caused the two brothers to grow closer together. “TJ has taken over as a father figure in my life, as well as some other people,” Malachi said. “He’s really stepped up. He has got a lot going on at Notre Dame, but we talk every week before and after my games.”
Malachi said he thinks about his father every day. “I always remember this phrase he said. Every day, sometime during the day and before the day was over, my dad would say ‘Did I tell you that I love you today?’ That’s what I remember.”