After the nation’s top safety prospect had a fantastic official visit to Arkansas this weekend, the Razorbacks find themselves moving into the top pack for Nacogdoches, Texas star Brandon Jones.
Jones (6-1, 190) was one of 12 official visitors and two unofficial ones that had already pledged to Arkansas that were in Fayetteville this weekend.
“It was a good visit, I’ve never been here it’s kind of a new experience, a different experience,” Jones said. “It was a really good one. I was kind of surprised by some of the things I’ve seen academically and within the facility and how nice it was so I was really impressed.”
Jones - a five-star prospect rated as the nation’s top safety prospect by Scout .com, has already visited Texas, Texas A&M and Ole Miss with a visit currently slated to visit Baylor next weekend and a possible mid-week trip to TCU.
He was surprised at how new Arkansas facilities were compared to others.
“It’s lot of newer equipment and stuff like that which is good,” Jones said. “They just have a lot of stuff like that a some of other schools don’t have within the weight room and training room which really stood out to me.
“Also the academic center was real nice with all the tutors they have they just have everything set up for you to succeed. It’s pretty much no way to fail unless you want to.”
The Arkansas weight room - which is the length of a football field - was one of the highlights of the trip.
“Honestly, just being out here I was really impressed with the weight program,” Jones said. “They showed us some before and after pictures which really stood out to me because like myself I like to lift weights and get bigger and faster and stuff.
“(Also) how comforting the coaches are because some of the coaches don’t take the time to do all that and that really stood out to me.”
His mom accompanied him on the trip and was got to spend time with Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema.
“My mom was really impressed,” Jones said. “That’s the first thing she said when we met with Coach B yesterday She just didn’t think it was going to be this great. I’m just glad we got a chance to get out here and see it.”
Jones talked about what will factor into his decision.
“To me the big factor will be just finding some of the positive and negative things of each school I’m really big on environment that feels like home,” Jones said. “I guess just that home feeling for me of what I’ve witnessed and what I’ve been through with all the schools.”
He found that in Fayetteville this weekend.
“I did, which I was surprised again,” Jones said. “I’ve always heard once you come here you’ll fall in love. So it for sure lived up to the hype.”
Arkansas tailback pledge Devwah Whaley, a friend good of Jones, joined Smackover wide receiver Jordan Jones as two Razorback commits who came on their own dime this weekend to help recruit others.
He said the visit surpassed even what Whaley had said about Arkansas.
“It did,” Jones said. “Like I said just really impressed with how everything went, with how good and nice all the people are down here.
“We had the player panel and how real they were without being set up to say anything. They’re just really confident in what they’ve been through and what the coaches have given them.”
Arkansas cornerback D.J. Dean was Jones’ host.
“DJ is a good guy and he’s from east Texas,” Jones said. “We hit it off right off the bat Friday night at dinner. We already had things in common just being from east Texas. Even him having a longer drive than me he said it’s for sure worth it if I end up wanting to come here.”
It’s a busy time for Jones.
“I have Baylor set up next weekend and I might do TCU during the week if I can, but I have a lot of home visits with some of the head coaches. So I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do that.”
Bielema did his home visit with Jones last week, but Razorback assistant Clay Jennings is scheduled to be in Jones’ home again this week.
“I think Coach Jennings is coming Tuesday,” Jones said. “ Coach B came last week so he can’t come again. I know Coach Jennings is for sure coming Tuesday. I don’t know if he’s bringing anybody with him.”
Brandon Jones, Devwah Whaley, Eric Cuffee and Kofi Boateng