Carlton Jones, a 5'11" 220 pound running back, was one of the most underrated players in central Florida for 2008. Middleton is one of the better teams in the Tampa area, and Jones was considered one of their best players last year. Grade issues scared away some of the bigger programs, which led to Jones making a commitment to Toledo. The Seminoles came into the picture in January, giving Jones the opportunity he was looking for. After a great official visit, Carlton made the choice to sign with Florida State on Signing Day. With his academic situation cleared up he is ready to go.
"I'm excited, man. I got this English and Biology class done and was able to enhance my grades. I am good to go now. The coaches from Florida State have been in constant contact with me about this making sure I was taking care of business. It's going to be a lot of fun and I plan on helping get FSU back to where they should be. Once I started getting the grades in order schools started really coming, but FSU is where I wanted to be."
There was a lot of fuss that Florida State was not recruiting the Tampa area like some had wished. With 3 recruits from 2008 from that area signed, Florida State wide receiver coach Lawrence Dawsey went a long way to show that isn't the case. Carlton says that Dawsey was one of the reasons he chose Florida State, and that the interest he's shown in him since he's signed has meant a lot.
"Coach Dawsey and Bob LaCavita have been in constant contact with me. I really like Dawsey and the interest and care he's shown in helping me get qualified. He was making sure I needed to do what I needed to do. They've kept in touch with me a lot and were making sure I kept them updated. I know I chose them late in the process, but it was just better for me and my family. Florida State can do more for me and my family than Toledo, and staying closer makes it easy for everyone around me."
Florida State hasn't had a "big back" since Greg Jones, so the Noles have been looking for a player to fit that role for some time. When Jimbo Fisher came to FSU, getting that type of running back became more of a focus for the coaches. The coaches have pegged Jones as that guy, and that is something that he is looking forward to.
"I'm at 220 pounds now, so I am coming in bigger than some of the guys they have now. The coaches are looking at me as a guy who can come in and get those tough yards and move the chains. I feel, though, that I will bring more than that to the team because I feel that I am a complete back. I can get the 3rd and 3, and I can break it long. I can come out of the backfield and catch the ball pretty well, too. I'm just excited that I can come there and prove who I am as a player."
Some recruits get tied into where they are in the rankings, but Jones wasn't one of them. He says his rating on websites like Scout.com never meant much to him because he knows what he brings as a player. Jones feels that coming to a big-time program like FSU will allow him to showcase his talent as a player.
"Ratings never meant much to me at all. I can't knock where they had me because I caused the situation myself. But now I am coming to prove myself as a player. I want to come in and work hard and give my team what it needs to win. I am coming in ready to play and be in the rotation when I get there. If they do decide to redshirt me that is okay because I trust that the coaches know what's best for me. A redshirt will just give me more time to get ready for when I get onto the field."
The fact that Carlton Jones is qualified is big for the Seminoles. He is a workhorse running back who can tote the rock 20 times a game; that is something the team doesn't have right now. With Jones, Tavares Pressley and Jermaine Thomas coming in a few weeks, the running back depth chart will look its best in some time. Stay tuned to NoleDigest as we track Carlton's career at FSU, as well as the rest of the 2008 signees.
Other random facts about Jones:
Carlton rushed for 1,228 yards and 16 scores last year.
He is rooming with Ja'Baris Little.
He wants #6 or #26, and says he'll probably go with 26 first. He says if he likes it, he may just keep it.
His nickname is Superman.