RECRUITING: A.J. Jones names Gators as leader

It's been a trying week for A.J. Jones and his family. Late last Sunday night, his Dad suffered complications that were initially thought to be heart related. Jones drove him to the hospital, where he remains today. A.J. said that it made afor a difficult Thanksgiving week for the family. But, they're most thankful that is receiveing medical attention.

(A.J. Jones profile)

"My Dad is in the hospital in the ICU and he's doing pretty bad." Jones said. "They said that he had like a mild heart attack or something. He is starting to show some signs of getting better, but he's unable to walk. I didn't really have any sleep this week. Between going to school and the hospital, I've been tired. I went to sleep late Friday and My Mom woke me up (Saturday) and told me that if I was getting to that game (Florida/Florida State) I'd better get up and get going."

He made it to the game and had plenty to share about the whole experience.

"Oh, man, it was an exciting atmosphere," Jones said. "It was really nice and I liked it a lot. I didn't get there until twelve minutes (left) in the first quarter. It was the best atmosphere all the way around from the beginning to the end. I'm talking about the game, the locker room and all of the speeches. It was nice."

"They (Florida) came out and shocked me," he said. "That is the truth. I knew that it was going to be a good game, but not like that. I didn't know that it would be a game like that. I mean, the defense was flying around everywhere. The offense was producing, putting up points. They showed on Saturday that they were improving."

"They (the Florida coaches) told me that they were coming down tomorrow to check on me, Jarred, and Daron tomorrow and Tuesday for the house visits."

He is getting an earful of Florida from his own family. We told you last week about his Grandfather who is a huge Florida fan and that he has extended family living in Gainesville.

"I brought my cousin (Ron Rawls) that goes to Florida up with me and my friend Darrell Wilson. My cousin talked to me about Florida and Gainesville. He took me out after the game around the town and showed me how fun it can get. It was cool. I like how everybody is afterwards. It gets crazy."

"Man, I got on the road early this morning after we got back. I didn't want to go to sleep and get caught in that game traffic with everybody leaving town, and then get caught in the Bucs traffic in Tampa. So, I just took off."

The speedy Tampa Middleton linebacker is one of a host of players putting the Bay Area back on the football recruiting map. There has always been talent in the area, but there are several recruits who are among the top at their position nationwide. One player who shared some thoughts with Jones was Hillsborough High School's Jarred Fayson.

"He (Fayson) hollered at me afterwards," Jones recalled. "He was like - 'Man, I did it' - and I congratulated him on his decision. He said that he just felt real comfortable and I said, yeah, me too. I'm not ready to do that (commit) yet. I'm going to see what else is out there still. I'm just not ready to put that on the line, right now."

"I don't really know Jarred that close," Jones said. "We're cool though. But, you know, we've always been in competition with each other. We've never played on the same team, but we've gone against each other since we were probably eleven or twelve years old. We holler at each other occasionally. I asked him if he was playing in the Florida/California game and he was like, yeah. So, we're going to have to hook up when we get out there or whatever."

When they do hook up, Fayson is certain to ask Jones about his college thoughts. So, what would be his reply at this time?

"Florida is a comfortable leader right now," Jones stated. "The comfort level is there. I liked the game. I'm looking at the performances on the field and how they run their game. But, for me, I'm really feeling better about how the coaches are doing things in the locker room and dealing with everybody. Alabama, LSU, and USC are the other three teams I'm looking at."

"I don't have any visits set up right now, but I'll probably take another one. I've been to the Alabama/LSU game and to Southern Cal. I went to a USF game. I think my next visit will be to Alabama. He (Coach Unger) was telling me that a good time to take my next visit would be December 9th, 10th, or 11th, sometime. But it's whenever I want to go. I've been up there for summer camp and I was up there for the LSU game."

It sounds as though Jones and his family have plenty on their plate at this time. He is appreciative of the thoughts and prayers for his family that all of us can send his way.

Fightin Gators Top Stories