5-star DT Hulk ‘went ham’ at Alabama

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Arguably the player most anticipated at The Opening is Kendell Jones, a.k.a. “The Hulk,” finally made it to campus in the wee hours Thursday morning. It didn’t slow the expectation or dim his personality after a day’s work against the best.

Wednesday was flight delay day for Kendell Jones on his path to Nike World Headquarters for The Opening Finals. But, in the wee hours Thursday morning, he finally made it to Portland and then to Beaverton, Ore.

“I slept four hours, I got in at 1 (a.m.), but what kept me energized was the excitement to get out here,” he said.

Jones suited up and competed among the nation’s best trench talents, complete with helmet and shoulder pads, and held his own.

“I woke up excited to go, I really wasn’t tired at all,” he said. “Coming out here, jumping into it, I’ve got to learn a lot more stuff, like what they want me to do and then tomorrow I’m going to have a better day.

“I need to improve my pad level. Stay low, use my moves, use my rips and I’m going to be good. I’m looking forward to making Final 5 tomorrow.”

If the five-star Kileen (Tex.) Shoemaker defensive tackle had a nemesis on Thursday, it was four-star Florida State commitment Baveon Johnson. The two went back and forth on the interior.

“He’s a strong guy. What could always beat a guy like that is your technique. I have a lot more development to do it,” Jones said. “He’s the real deal, I’ve got to work my hardest to beat him tomorrow. I have more work to do for the next day.”

With plenty of work to be done in Pac-12 country, one of the best at his position says the six weeks or so he’s been an Alabama Crimson Tide commitment has been a change of pace from before May 22. Other programs remain on his trail though he’s been attempting to improve UA's 2016 class while in town with fellow elites, including the nation’s No. 1 prospect Rashan Gary.

“I mean, it’s Roll Tide. Shoot, we’ve got to come out here and show out for ‘Bama,” he said. “We’re the next men, next student athletes to step up. It’s he family environment there, the education they could give a person. They could make me into a real student-athlete and prepare you for the next level.”

Jones was last in Tuscaloosa on June 13 for OL/DL camp, his first trip as a pledged prospect. He competed and reportedly dominated during the competition portion of the day.

“I went ham over there,” he said with a laugh. “I had to show the family what I had. Bo Davis, who recruits me, is always there. Everything is so different now. People see me now and say , ‘Hey, what’s up ‘Bama?’ It’s like, okay, ‘Roll Tide!’

“It’s so cool, the life of a committed person.”

Planning to take official visits in the fall, Jones says unofficial visits to Texas and Arkansas are likely going forward. Neither trip is currently planned.

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