One of the most celebrated players on hand for Sunday's Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Games Media Day is already a University of Arkansas student.
Thus he is also a defensive tackle who is definitely ready to play this fall for the Razorbacks.
Junction City's Byran Jones (6-2, 300) and teammate and fellow Razorback signee Alan Turner (5-11, 200) enrolled at Arkansas on May 31 and will make their last prep appearances Friday night in the All-Star football game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
"We have been up here working out and going to class," Jones said. "It's been going good – the workouts and the classes. Everything is good….Guys like (current Razorbacks) D.D. Jones and Jake Bequette are helping me with workouts, talking to me about plays and just helping me get used to everything. I am hitting the weights and going to stay on it."
Jones, who had 94 tackles and 4 fumble recoveries last season, said there was never any doubt that he was going to be eligible, despite some message board fodder to the contrary.
"Somebody had put that line out there, but I have basically known since I was junior that I was going to be eligible," Jones said.
Becoming a college-student athlete keeps his day busy per Jones, who was the state's defensive player of the year the past two seasons.
"We work out at 1:30 p.m., but we have to get up early to go to tutoring, go to class, go to breakfast, go to lunch and dinner and there is a lot of other stuff in there that makes it a full day," Jones said. "But it is going good."
While the Arkansas defensive line does have some solid returnees, it's believed that Jones will be in the mix this season as a true freshman.
"They say I have enough skill to come in and play and I am going to try my hardest to come in and be a big factor on the scene," Jones said.
"I have got to work on my mechanics," Jones added. "But I can bring my speed and strength to the field to the team to help out."
It makes it even more exciting for Jones that Arkansas is generally considered a Top 15 program headed into the season.
"It makes me feel good to know that I am going to come in and be playing for a high ranked team that has a great chance of competing for championships," Jones said. "I am basically coming in, just trying to help them out and do what I can to make us even better."
Jones had several scholarship offers, but basically got his choice down to Arkansas and Auburn.
"It was about the way Arkansas recruited me," Jones said. "That was a big factor at the end. *(Razorback assistant) Coach Tim Horton – he and I had a great relationship.
"When I broke it down out of who recruited me the best and who had the best future, it was Arkansas," Jones said.
It helps Jones that his best friend will also be a Razorback.
"Me and Alan are like brothers," Jones said. "We have been best friends since like Head Start and coming to college together just helps out our relationship and the transition even more. We are like very close brothers."
"Alan is a smart safety that brings speed and strength for his size," Jones said.
Those two players were obviously big factors in the Dragons winning state crowns in both 2008 and 2009.
"The season went well and it was great to be back-to-back state champions," Jones said. "Everything fell right for us and we worked hard."
Jones is going to play in the game Friday, but not play recklessly.
"I'm looking forward to coming out and going hard – but not too hard because I have a career to look forward to," Jones said. "I am excited about Arkansas and where we are headed."
Signed, Sealed and Delivered
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