Four-star Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles quarterback Mac Jones had a solid summer camp circuit, which included a trip to Los Angeles for the Elite 11 semifinals, but he's long been ready to put the pads on and finally tee off against 11 opponents. The excitement was evident Friday night in a big win over Lake Mary (Fla.) as was his comfort in running legendary coach Corky Rogers' offense.
"It's like your'e at the shooting range for the camps and this is the battlefield," he said of the camp circuit versus Friday nights. "Just being out here with my guys and going against something else, it's like finally. We'll get to do that, hopefully, for at least 12 games.
"Having played as a freshman and a little bit as a sophomore, it's definitely different on the other side of it where you have that vocal control of kids. I'm excited about what our team has done this offseason, we'll get better and better."
An Alabama Crimson Tide commitment, Jones threw for three scores and flashed running ability on a pair of long carries, too.
"I've been in this offense so it's second-nature to me," he said. "I can be tired, fatigued, and it still comes easy. That helps a lot, and it doesn't change much week to week, we focus on ourselves. I don't get to have the ball in my hands running a lot, so I have to take advantage of it. I can run. It's just fun to do."
Off the field, Jones remains active in his pledge status with the Crimson Tide though the program he was once committed to remains in the hunt to potentially host him on campus down the road.
"Kentucky is still in contact, they still send me stuff all the time," he said. "And obviously 'Bama is still probably the most in contact. (Offensive line) Coach (Brent) Key, coach (Lane) Kiffin. 'Bama does a good job keeping in touch with me."
At this time, visits anywhere but Tuscaloosa aren't yet in the works.
"I don't think so," Jones said of additional trips. "You never know, things can change and stuff like that, but I'm really solid to 'Bama and I don't want to go anywhere else to visit. We're trying to set up the (Alabama) visit, so I can take my family, my girlfriend up for a game, just trying to see how that works."
In the meantime, the blue-chip passer will continue to campaign for fellow top talents to join him on the UA verbal commitment list.
"I still talk about prospects to recruit and stuff, obviously I love doing that," Jones said. "I listen to the coaches and what they have to say, who they want, stuff like that. It's my role as the quarterback. I was really pumped about (Jerry) Jeudy (committing), Smitty (Devonta Smith) bumped his commitment back but I'm still on him. He's taking his time. Henry Ruggs, obviously, I really like and I think we might take like one or two more offensive tackles, something like that.
"I don't really know what's going on with (Jedrick) Wills, but I think he's close to making a decision. Isaiah Wilson likes 'Bama a lot, so I'm staying on him. Shaun Wade, I stay on him since he's a Jacksonville kid, but I have no idea what he's doing, hopefully he makes up his mind soon."
Active in recruiting, the Florida arm also keeps an eye on things in Tuscaloosa, including the quarterback situation heading into the opening game Saturday. The player to take the first snap, no matter the eligibility status, won't affect Jones' commitment.
"I know that coach (Nick) Saban always waits to the last minute and the starter has to win the team over, it's important to him," he said. "I'm just gonna keep plugging along, I'm not expecting to go in there and start my freshman year, that doesn't really happen. I really want to learn the system my junior, senior year try and get some playing time. We'll just see how it all plays out."
Watch Mac Jones' Senior Season Debut: