Levi Jones is now ready to turn his focus back towards recruiting. The Scout 200 linebacker is set to hit the road in January to check out a few of his top schools.
“I’m taking three [official visits] in January. I have one set up and that’s Florida on Jan. 13,” Jones said. “I haven’t decided on the other two yet. It’s between Texas A&M, UCLA, Florida State, and USC...I can take a midweek visit but I don’t want to do that.”
Although Jones has not previously visited UF, Jones is quite familiar with one staff member. Gators linebackers coach and current interim defensive coordinator, Randy Shannon has a close relationship relationship with the Jones' family that stretches well over a decade. Jones' father, former NFL linebacker, Robert Jones, was coached by Shannon at the Miami Dolphins from 1998-2000.
“He’s known me since I was a little boy, and the whole recruiting process we’ve grew closer and closer as well," said Jones. "Coach Shannon tells me that I can be better than my dad or will be better than him. Overall he has talked to me about how good of a player I am, and how he can see me in the defense there.”
Shannon even tried to recruit Levi Jones' older brother, Caleb, to the Miami Hurricanes when Shannon was a head coach. The younger Jones even admits that the defensive coach is one of the bigger reasons he has decided to take a visit to see Florida.
“It helps a lot,” Jones admitted “Our relationship is great and I feel secure if I was to go there because of him being there. I feel secure if I were to go there to some degree [because of Shannon], but that’s why I want to go visit and check it out. Just for confirmation."
Shannon is currently the interim defensive coordinator for the Gators' bowl game against Iowa on Jan. 2. He is also a contender for the full time job. According to Jones, if Shannon were to become the official defensive coordinator, Florida would look more appealing.
"It would be awesome, really exciting," he said. "It would help for sure knowing he is in a secure spot."
Although Shannon has close ties to the family, Jones says his family let him have free reign in his recruitment.
“My dad loves him,” Jones said of his dad’s relationship with Randy Shannon. “They have a really good relationship as well. My dad doesn’t push me to go anywhere. He is letting me decide. He doesn’t pressure me”
Jones admits if his father had a preference for school, it would be for another school in the Sunshine State.
"If anything he likes Florida State," said Jones. "He doesn't want to make the decision for me. He has not pushed me or pressured me for anything."
Like father like son, the Noles are also high on the son's board as well.
"I like Florida State a lot. They are definitely at the top," said the linebacker from Texas. "They said I would play inside or outside linebacker, but [the Noles just tell me] that they need me and that they want me."
Jones told reporters that he has envisioned himself playing away from home at the next level, however, Texas A&M is one school that continues to draw the linebacker to his home state.
"They are close to home and overall it's a great place," he said. "I love [head] coach [John] Chavis. He is a great coach, and he has coached a lot of great players. I feel like his schemes for defense is good as well."
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is expecting to take three official visits before making his decision.
Looking for "just a place I can see myself playing for the next three or four years. Somewhere where if I were to get hurt, and I would not be able to play, my degree will set me up to be successful in life, and just not too complicated a defense overall."
However, Jones does not rule out the chance of a commitment after his official to Florida.
“If everything goes as planned [I could commit],” Jones said.