Mister Jones will stay close to home

The most dynamic running back in the state of Colorado in the 2010 recruiting class looks like a strong lean toward coach Dan Hawkins' program. But that hasn't stopped others from beginning to show interest this spring. Get inside for more.

Mister Jones, a 6-foot-2, 200 pound tailback from Littleton High School, has started to hear from an increasing number of programs this spring.

Jones said Nebraska, Kansas, and Tennessee have started recruiting him with more gusto recently, and he has interest each of those programs. However, because his mother is battling cancer and he is the oldest of five siblings (a brother and three sisters) he prefers the idea of staying close to home for college. That might make Colorado the perfect fit.

"If I do go out of state, then it's going to be somewhere close," Jones said. "Other than that, I'm going to stay close to home.

"She is doing good right now. She's getting better. She's at home taking care of the family doing the things she can do. She's getting better. "Me and my mom are very close and she's been taking care of me. So I want to be around to take care of her."

Jones said his family is most important to him and things are improving for his mother. Littleton coach Chad Koepke said Jones has been through tough times the past few years but he has handled them with an uncommon maturity.

"He's not had the typical childhood as far as home life," Koepke said. "They've had some difficult times there. They've had some things happen where here in the last year-and-a-half they have kind of come back together as a family. He's got a little brother and some little sisters and he's kind of been the man of the household. So there is a big piece to that, the family piece is pretty important to him. I think that is one of the things that would put CU and local or regional schools toward the top of the list."

Jones has rushed for more than 2,400 yards and 25 touchdowns the past two seasons, despite missing time to injuries including five games in his junior year because of a high ankle sprain. He is healthy now and has been working out with teammates and running track this spring.

Jones grew up bigger than most kids his age and was forced to play on the line much of the time as a youngster. He played tight end as an eigth-grader and only was allowed to finally get into the backfield at the high school level. Koepke said Jones needs to continue to perfect his footwork and ball-handling and his overall understanding of offenses and what the defense is trying to do against it.

"He has a unique combination of size and speed," Koepke said. "He's 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds and runs in the low-11s in the 100-meter dash for our track team. You don't find that many kids that big who can run that fast. He's got God-given ability. He has good vision and the ability to run inside or outside. Sometimes you get bigger backs and they're just downhill-type kids. At least at the high school level, he has the ability to get outside and run from sideline to sideline."

The biggest concern with Jones is not his ability on the field but whether he will qualify academically. He has improved the past two years as a student and is working on achieving a qualifying test score. When that happens, interest from college coaches will likely blossom.

"I think I did pretty good, but I'm taking it again in June and I'll just keep taking it until I get a good score," Jone said.

Jones said the first time he took the ACT he got a 17. He said he has been taking ACT prep class since the end of football season and his goal is to get at least a 23.

Jones said his primary contact with the Colorado program hasn't been with a member of the coaching staff, though he does hear from Buff coaches. He said he communicates most often with operations assistant Zach Dickson.

"I was thinking about making my decision before football season starts, but I still want to give it time," Jones said. "I don't want to rush in. So I don't know exactly."

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