Oxford, Ala. – It's been a good year for Oxford defensive lineman Ulric Jones. The 6-6, 255-pound junior picked up offers from in-state Alabama and Auburn, and his Oxford High School team made it to the state semifinals in 6A.
"It's going good," Jones said. "It's education first, then I bring it out of the field and everything falls into place. My top two right now are Alabama and Auburn. I have received offers from Alabama and Auburn.
"I'm looking at basically all the SEC teams and maybe Temple and Indiana as some North teams," he added. "I just get a lot of letters from Temple and Indiana. I get a lot of data and information about their schools, and I like what I read. That pushes me forward to read into their programs."
"You're shocked, especially from that big time of game," Jones said of the Alabama offer. "You can't say anything. You're just shocked. You can't do anything but stare, smile and look. The recruiting manager told me that Coach Saban wanted to talk to me in his office. Coach Saban put it out on the line about education and having a written scholarship (offer) next year. He just told me to stick forward. He asked me if I wanted to attend his college for four years. I said that would be a great thing to do.
"Two weeks later Chizik did it the same way," he continued. "The recruiting manager came and told me that Coach Chizik wanted to talk to me in his office. It went the same way. I had the same response. Blown away."
Jones said that he was born and raised an Auburn fan, but it's different for someone who is being recruited and having to make the right choice as a future student-athlete of a school.
"I guess I was just raised upon it," he explained. "I was raised on orange and blue my entire life. That's pretty much how it was. I grew up a true, hard Auburn fan. But once I got old and once it started coming to me like it is now, it's kind of hard to pick a side once you get as much talk from both schools as you do now."
Jones, a 2013 prospect, added that he's in no hurry to make his decision.
At 6-6 and 255 pounds Jones plays end and defensive tackle for Oxford and has a very large but lean frame. By the time he reaches college he could be the biggest player on the field.
"From both schools that I've talked to, Auburn and Alabama, they've told me that they could put a lot of weight on me quick," he said. "So that's going to be a good advantage to me quickly.
"The doctor said that I've got at least five inches left in my growth plate," he added. "And I'm pretty sure I'm going to gain weight once I get into the collegiate level."
Oxford High School had an outstanding season and beat Spain Park, Northridge and Mountain Brook before falling at 32-22 Hoover in the semifinals. The game at Hoover was played in front of a packed house with thousands of Oxford supporters in attendance.
"I'm very proud, especially from where we started in the spring," Jones said. "I'm very proud. I'm very excited about how far we got. I'm looking forward to next year.
"They just got a spark that we couldn't put out," he added of Hoover. "Once they got rolling it was hard to stop them. We had a chance to stop them, but we just didn't capitalize on it.
"It's always good to see when you've got the community, the student section, the whole student body behind you," Jones continued. "I just think that since we had that many fans and supporters that we should have had come out, played a little harder and come out with a victory."
Jones broke his hand in the quarterfinals against Northridge. Once that heals he plans on playing basketball for Oxford. He averaged 12 points and six rebounds as a sophomore.