Introducing the 2004 Class: Michael Jones

Successful high school quarterbacks, such as Michael Jones, are usually immune from being asked to play a different position at the college level. In fact, most of the schools recruiting the Sugar Land, TX prospect envisioned him barking out signals under center. However, when the Sun Devils pegged him as a wide receiver, Jones did not shun them. DevilsDigest sat down with Jones to discuss his recruiting journey with ASU, as well as the factors that led him to agree to the position change.

Arizona State targeted the Ft. Bend Austin High School standout early in his career. Jones portrayed the first contact with the Sun Devil staff as a positive experience. "I was first contacted by ASU in the spring of my junior year," he recalled. "Coach Guy came to see me. The first time I really talked to him was after one of my games (in his senior year). I was really excited to talk to him, and he sounded like a real cool guy I could get along with."

A scholarship offer came somewhat late compared to his other suitors, but the quarterback turned wide receiver didn't seem to mind that too much. "ASU offered me sometime around September-October of my senior year," stated Jones. "Oklahoma St., Houston, Iowa State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Utah, and Missouri all offered me before ASU. But it didn't matter. I was only really interested in one school (Oklahoma St.). So I visited them. Then Arizona State popped up, and I was interested in them too. So I went there on a visit, and it just went on from there."

On his official visit, Jones was hosted by another Houston high school standout - linebacker Jamar Williams. Jones did appreciate the insight offered by a fellow Lone Star state native. "He gave me all the advice that I needed to know about making the change from Texas to Arizona," Jones remarked. "He told me all the good and bad things, but they're not really that many bad things. He told me how much he's enjoying his life down here. He helped me a lot with my decision."

Aside from getting that unique perspective, the wide receiver was impressed by the people and the scenery in Tempe. "I loved the beautiful weather," he said. "The hotel we stayed in, the coaches, the people. It's a real young and clean city. I liked the mountains because we don't have too may of those here at home (smile)."

The long plane ride to the Valley of the Sun naturally raised the question of whether he wanted to play so far away from home. While Jones admits that he did have some reservations, the proverbial ‘big picture' did outweigh any uncertainties he may have had. "At the end (of the recruiting process), I was kinda of leaning towards staying close to home more than I realized. But I knew that my chances of being more successful, are going further away to Arizona State."

Those opportunities for success meant that he would have to play a different position in college. "Pretty much all the schools recruiting me wanted me as a quarterback," said Jones who will be the starting quarterback for the Texas High School all-star game this summer. "Sometimes I do go back and forth about if I really want to play quarterback in college. But I know that if I want to play early I have to play wide receiver. I want to be on the field as fast as possible." He added that the Sun Devil staff isn't adverse at all for him playing as a quarterback in the future. "The coaches said that they'll give me a shot at quarterback my sophomore year after Andrew (Walter) leaves," stated Jones. "If that doesn't work out, I'll always have my wide receiver position."

In his senior year, Jones threw for 1,997 yards and 17 touchdowns, and rushed for 684 yards and five more touchdowns "We were predominately in a four wide offense," he said. "I did throw a lot, but I also scrambled a lot with the ball." He truly believes that playing wide receiver is absolutely the best next option for him. "I did play as a receiver in two plays my senior year," he claimed. "And I scored a touchdown on both. I really think that is the best position for me to play other than quarterback. I also played in a lot of 7-on-7 tournaments in Houston as a receiver."

We asked him to self assess his skills, to which he replied: "I need to get off the ball faster, but I release down the field pretty well (Jones runs a 4.45). I can always catch the ball, and I've always been able to do that since I was little. I have a 37-inch vertical jump, so I catching the ball shouldn't be a big problem for me."

The 6-3 190 Jones fulfills a team need for a tall wideout. The ASU coaches' desire for that type of player was communicated early and often during the recruiting process. "I'm already the tallest receiver that they have," exclaimed Jones. "A lot of Pac-10 schools have that one tall wide receiver, and they see me as someone that can make an impact. They told me I could catch a lot of touchdowns in the end zone on fade routes. That really opened my eyes."

Preparing for success doesn't come without any sacrifices. Jones said that he was encouraged by the Sun Devil staff to attend the school's bridge program in June, as well as participate in the team's summer workouts. "They told me if I really wanted to play early, that I should come in early." Jones remarked. "Sometimes I do feel that I want to hang out here more in the summer. But I realize that I have a job to do, which is more important than just hanging out with my friends. It's important to get used to the college atmosphere and get a head start."

The versatile Michael Jones, who has already qualified academically, also played centerfield for his high school Baseball team. During his recruitment he did express his desire to entertain that opportunity at ASU, and the Sun Devils' skipper has welcomed that notion. "I do want to give it a shot," said Jones. "(ASU Baseball) Coach Murphy called me two days before I committed, and that did help my decision a lot. They're a great program, and it would be fun playing for them."

Much like his host player on his visit, Jones is another exceptional Houston area prep player, who didn't get much recruiting attention from the leading Big-12 schools. Is that a topic that occasionally irks him? "It does bug me a lot," he said. "A part of me wanted to stay in the Big-12 so I can play against those schools that didn't recruit me and show them that they messed up by passing me up. Now, I'll just have to show them on the West Coast. I'm real excited to get started at Arizona State." If Michael Jones can fulfill his potential, no matter what position he plays, that notion of excitement will be wide spread among the Sun Devil team and its followers.

Recruit Profile

Name

Michael Jones

High SchoolFt. Bend Austin High School (Sugar Land, TX)

Position

WR

Height

6-3

Weight

190

Date of Birth

9/19/86

Birthplace

Humble, TX

Nickname

"Didn't really have one."

Favorite TV Show

"SportsCenter"

Favorite Movie

"Remember the Titans"

Favorite Singer/Band

"R.Kelly"

Favorite Food

"Pizza"

Favorite Drink

"Kool Aid"

Favorite Athlete

"Michael Vick or Ken Griffey Jr."

Favorite Pro Team

"Dallas Cowboys"

Person you most admire

"My parents. They're good role models and always tell me the right thing to do."

First Football Memory

"Getting my first scholarship offer from Oklahoma State my junior year"

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I can get along with everybody"

Why did you choose ASU?

"Playing time"

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"My dream is to be a professional athlete. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to be an engineer or a sports agent."

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