One of the splash scholarship offers Michigan has deployed in the state of Alabama in the class of 2018, seemingly coming out of nowhere, was that to Jacquez Jones. It went down this spring and he's been a busy prospect since.
Jones has transferred schools, now leading the dominant Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Hillcrest defense, which has helped the team to a 4-0 start. But on Saturday he hit up the local Alabama Crimson Tide for his latest visit. Despite the heat, he met with more than a half-dozen coaches on staff while in town.
"Most of them came and sat down and had a conversation with me," he said. "Coach [Tosh] Lupoi, coach [Lane] Kiffin, Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt, Coach [Freddie] Roach, Coach [Burton] Burns, Coach [Nick] Saban and some more. But they were saying how they been watching my film and that if I keep playing and everything is going to come."
The Scout three-star talent, who has interest from a bevvy of SEC, ACC and Big Ten schools, could play multiple linebacker spots at the next level. UA has an eye for Jones on the interior.
"Inside, that's where I play now, the only school that wants me outside is Michigan," he said.
Either way, the local talent had an eye on all of the second-level standouts at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the 38-10 Alabama win over Western Kentucky.
"It was good, the defense played really good, they had a few penalties but overall it was a good game," Jones said. "I usually watch the linebackers when the D on the field to see what they're doing and apply it to my game. My favorite player to watch on 'Bama is [Reuben] Foster, I see how he plays so physical and fast to the ball and I just add that. Don't second-guess, just go.
"He's big, physical and able to run to the ball and read plays in a hurry before the linemen get to you. I apply it by meeting the (ball) carrier in the hole, blowing up blocks and chasing plays down."
The latter part of the process has worked well within the Patriot defense for Jones, who is aided by UA pledge Brian Robinson and the offense more times than not.
"It has been good," he said of the season. "Our team all around is clicking right now. My role is the leader of the defense. I stop the run early so they have to pass and our secondary makes plays when that happens."
The first-month success has one of the state's top juniors abuzz on the trail.
"A lot of schools have been in contact with me lately," he said. "I'll visit Auburn this weekend."