D.J. Jones is arguably the hottest junior college prospect in the country. The East Mississippi freshman has considerable SEC, ACC and Big 12 offers to his name already including Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, South Carolina, USC and more.
"I just take them in as they come and give all a fair look," he said. "USC probably surprised me the most out of all of them, being that it's so far away."
The Trojans, as well as several top schools on his list, will host him on visits before he narrows things down toward his eventual decision.
"A few are in mind," Jones said. "I know I'll take the FSU, 'Bama and USC trip. And I'm still thinking on the others"
Alabama is one of the programs that has been in on the 6-foot-2, 310-pound defensive tackle for some time.
"They were one of the first, and that was one of those offers that showed me that my hard work had paid off," he said. "I talk to Coach [Bo] Davis and he likes my explosion off of the ball and my hand strength.
"They like me at nose guard."
Nick Saban and company signed a pair of Jones' EMCC teammates in Jarran Reed and D.J. Pettway off of the 2013 national title team this past December, also from along the Lions' defensive line. Reed is also a projected nose guard, who Pettway helped sell college life in Tuscaloosa to.
Does it help with the next big recruit on campus?
"Kind of," he said. "But at the end of it all it's me going, not all three of us. If I would've been in last year's class that would've been sweet.
"We're pretty close, we talk every once in a while now. But when they were here, we were tight."
Jones, who recorded 49 total tackles, including eight for a loss and eight sacks this past fall, is looking to take a similar path to major college football as his former linemates. December will feature all of the big decisions, including his signature to his school of choice.
"I'll make my decision in December," he said, adding that he is also on track to graduate in the same month before enrolling at his school of choice in January of 2015. He'll have three seasons to play two at that point.
In dissecting his top schools, though he claims "no favorites right now," it could be a numbers game for Jones.
"I'm looking for my relationship with the D-line coach, the D-linemen already on the roster and who else they're bringing in," he said.
Jones plans to take all five official visits earlier in the fall, and possibly some in the summer, to help speed up the decision process before December.
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