Interest building in Jones

Tight end Zach Jones from ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo., is spending his spring break in Las Vegas, but it's a business trip for him in two sports. Get inside for more.

Zach Jones, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end, is participating in the Badger Elite 7on7 tournament this weekend with a handful of other players from Colorado, including 2013 quarterback prospect Ryan Novak from Heritage High School in Littleton.

Jones is hoping to demonstrate his versatility as he competes against some of the best prospects in the west.

Jones also is participating in track this spring. He is throwing shot put for the first time and also working with coaches to improve his speed.

He will meet his high school team in Las Vegas later next week to compete in a meet before heading home.

"My head coach has been wanting me to work on my explosiveness cause I'm kind of slow starting off the ball but I gain speed as I go," Jones said. "I'm going to try to work on getting faster off the line. That's my main focus."

Jones played in a spread offense last season that also occasionally switched into a power running attack operating out of the I-formation. Jones said he believes he could succeed in either style of offense next fall and in the future at the college level.

"I'm actually really used to doing a lot of blocking," he said. "Sophomore year that is mainly what I did. I only went out for a few passes. I think run blocking is actually one of my strong suits, but I can also go out and catch passes."

Jones said he receives letters from about 15 programs but he hears most often from five schools, including Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas State, Oregon and Northwestern. He is still waiting for his first offer.

Jones said he has talked with Colorado tight ends coach J.D. Brookhart and Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, who used to hold the same title in Boulder.

Jones was an honorable mention all-state selection as a junior in 2010 helping his team go 6-6. He has also played some fullback and on the defensive side of the ball as a defensive end and linebacker in his career.

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