With three late de-commitments from defensive players just days before signing day, Colorado State needed to find quality replacements. The Rams, however, didn't need to scramble, nor reach out to unfamiliar faces in order to fill those voids.
Upon being offered the opportunity to join the class, one of their top defensive targets over the course of the football season jumped aboard an opportunity to join the Rams Sunday night. Emmanuel Jones, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound hybrid defender from Cartersville (Ga.) Woodland, said yes to a CSU offer, which he announced on signing day.
Jones played primarily inside and outside linebacker as a senior, earning Region 7-AAAAA co-Defensive Player of the Year honors along with Georgia 4-star commit Adam Anderson. Jones notched over 15 tackles per game for his winless Woodland squad.
The quiet playmaker prefers to let his play on the field do the talking for him. He played defensive end as a junior before an illness ended his season, but coaches moved him to linebacker in order to utilize his sideline-to-sideline speed, and simply because he was easily his team's best defender.
Jones comes to CSU as a utility front seven athlete, you could say. He could end up at defensive end in Marty English's 3-4, Buck outside linebacker, or even inside linebacker if he doesn't outgrow the position. He doesn't care which spot he plays. He is simply glad to sign with the Rams on National Signing Day.
"I prayed about it and it just felt like a second home," Jones said of his decision. "They like that I was different and versatile, pretty much. I've played several different positions, so they said I could play whichever position I fit with the scheme best."
Jones took an official visit to CSU the weekend of January 13 along with 13 other recruits and came away impressed.
"It was pretty good. It was different than I expected. People were telling me it was going to be cold, but when I got there, it felt the same way as home in a way. Overall, it just felt like a second home.
The Georgia native appreciated the beautiful views of Horsetooth Reservoir - something he said he did not expect. Touring the new on-campus stadium was also an eye-opener.
"All the little things inside the stadium really stuck out, like the weight room and everything," he said.
Jones also bonded with Georgia area recruiter Joe Cox. Being from the area, Jones felt he could relate to Cox as well as the many other Rams staffers from the Peach State.
"He's from the East Coast. He's from North Carolina originally and went to the University of Georgia, so he knew firsthand what to expect at Colorado being from here," Jones said of Cox.
Throughout his recruitment, Jones picked up offers from Appalachian State, CSU, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Purdue, Troy.
Understandably, Jones is simply glad the recruiting process is over and he found a place that we can call home for the next 4-5 years.
"I'm glad it's over," Jones said of his recruitment. "It was fun while it lasted. I'm glad I get to stick with one team and win."