The Dragons' Slayer

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with Junction City defensive tackle Byran Jones (6-2, 310)- regarded as the state's top defender. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free, as is an offer to attend a Razorback game. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

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While Little Rock Christian tailback Michael Dyer – the state's number one-ranked prospect – gets tons of publicity as he rightfully should, the state's second-ranked player just seems to quietly go about his business.

That would be Junction City defensive tackle Byran Jones (6-2, 310), who said Tuesday that he plans to be in attendance when the University of Arkansas opens its season against Missouri State Sept. 5 in Little Rock.

The Razorbacks – who got an unofficial visit from Jones earlier this summer - have joined Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Auburn, Baylor, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe in offering the Dragons' standout.

"I really liked what I saw when I came to Fayetteville – the facilities, the coaches and all of it," Jones said. "But since it is really the only college I have been to, I want to take my time and see some others. I consider everybody about even."

There has been a lot of speculation that Jones – who actually lives seven miles into Louisiana - might end up at LSU if the Tigers offer.

"I didn't grow up as an LSU fan or an Arkansas fan so that won't mean anything," Jones said. "I actually grew up as the biggest fan of USC and what they had done. But that won't make any difference in my decision anyway. It will be just the best place for me."

Jones is coming off a phenomenal junior season in which he had over 100 tackles, whopping 15 sacks and a 14-0 mark and Class 2A state title. "Our practice is going really well," Jones said. "We are moving around and getting a lot of things done and I think we have a chance to win it again."

That's even though Junction City lost quite a few players off that championship squad.

"We lost a running back, our quarterback, our safety, some linebackers and some 9 techniques," Jones said. "But we have some good guys to take their place. I think we are going to be fine. We will try to take care of the conference first and then try to win state again."

Jones did say that he is definitely taking on more of a leadership role as a senior.

"I am just pushing them to be their best and not take any plays off," Jones said. "We need to make every play count in practice and in the game."

The returning 2A player of the year in the state thinks he has improved.

"I think I have gotten a little bigger, stronger and smarter," Jones said. "I'm up to 310 right now and feel good at that weight."

Asked about the recruiting process, Jones said he plans to put it off to the side until the season is over.

"I am planning on taking my official visits after the season," Jones said. "I am looking for a school that can help me get a great education and also has a great football program."

While he does admit to really liking Arkansas assistant Tim Horton, Jones said there isn't much difference in the coaching staffs of those schools that are after him.

"There are all about the same, treat me the same and recruit me the same," Jones said. "It's pretty much even with no one really recruiting me any harder than the other, but all doing a great job."

Junction City will scrimmage next Monday against Harmony Grove before opening its season against Fountain Lake on Thursday, Sept. 3 at Henderson State University in one of the Hooten's Classic games.

O o o

Dyer and Little Rock Christian teammate Dakota Mosley are slated to take an unofficial visit to Ole Miss this weekend.

Dyer has over 20-plus offers while Mosley has offers from Tennessee, Auburn, Tulsa and Louisiana Tech.

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