The Shaq Factor

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with Fort Smith Northside junior wide receiver Shaquille Jones (6-1, 180, 4.6), who took in last Saturday's Arkansas season opener. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota.

For a University of Arkansas football program that loves to throw the ball around, it's a bonus that three of the nation's best 2012 wideout prospects reside in its own state.

Jonesboro's Zac Brooks (6-2, 180, 4.5) and Warren's Jalen Cobb (6-1, 185, 4.6) both have Razorback offers already and Fort Smith Northside's Shaquille Jones (6-0, 180, 4.6) is thought to be likely to nab one as well.

Jones was in Reynolds Razorback Stadium Saturday night as head coach Bobby Petrino's UA squad used the pass early and often in routing Tennessee Tech 44-3.

"I love it," Jones said. "I like it that I am a receiver and they pass a lot now. They used to just run the ball a lot. Now that they have Coach Petrino, they definitely are up there with me."

Jones is coming off a fantastic sophomore season in which he caught a whopping 78 passes for 929 yards and 6 touchdowns.

"My strength is definitely the deep ball," Jones said. "I have great speed and I run precise routes. The things that I am working on are staying more focused on the task at home. Sometimes I get out of it a little bit. I need to catch every ball, not start running before I actually have the ball."

His numbers have certainly brought about interest from some major colleges and vice-versa.

"Ones that I am definitely interested in Arkansas, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Alabama – who is my favorite team - and Florida, UCLA and Arkansas State," Jones said.

He'll be back on the Arkansas sideline before the Razorbacks' game with Alabama in Fayetteville on Sept. 25.

"Definitely, that is going to be a great game between to great teams and two teams I would really love to play for," Jones said.

Jones had 9 catches for 125 yards last Friday night, but his Grizzlies lost 51-35 to visiting Pine Bluff.

It came in a game where Northside quarterback Tanner Knight completed 42 of 75 passes for 516 yards, but the Zebra rushed for 545. "Our number one goal for this year is to go out and change our record," Jones said. "We were 3-8 last season and we want to change that to at least 6 wins this season. We definitely have to get better as a team, play more unified and as one."

Northside certainly has the offense to play with anybody, but has not been good enough defensively and has instead got into shootouts.

He hopes that ends beginning with Friday night's game at Bryant.

"On offense, we have just about every kind of weapon in the book," Jones said. "We do have to get our defense together. The thing is our offense is going to average 35, maybe 40 points a game, but we can't allow the other team's offense to allow 40 to 50 points a game.

"We know the biggest thing to our success this season is that we have to stop the other team from scoring," Jones said. "It's that simple."

Shaquille Jones

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