Florida Lands Four-Star Linebacker Jones

The Florida Gators get another big time commitment from one of the state's elite players Wednesday night when Tampa-Middleton four-star linebacker A.J. Jones made it official that he would be a Gator. The ferocious hitter with supreme athletic skills is another in a class full of stars for the Gators and the 27th commitment for Urban Meyer's team.

Jones said it was the people that convinced him to commit to the Gators, but the 6-2, 190 pound human wrecking machine loves the defense and sees himself fitting in there very well.

"I loved it there and felt so comfortable with the coaches the players and the atmosphere," Jones said. "I describe it as a vicious defense and I am aggressive player on the field. I think I will fit in well. I can come down and hit somebody. Coach Meyer said he wants me on the field early, so if I have to drop back to safety then I will do so."

Jones has family at the University and that made his decision a little easier. On the shy side, he isn't quick to make a lot of friends. Running Backs Coach Stan Drayton was the perfect recruiting coach to bring him out if his shell when he visited Gainesville.

"My cousin attends UF and it did play a little part in the decision," Jones said. "I know I have a secondary person to go to if I need to at UF. When I was up there the first time, I didn't really know anyone and Coach Drayton started to introduce me to Brandon Siler, Vernell Brown and Avery Atkins."

"I hung out with Avery in the summer, we hung out a lot. He was a real cool person. Brandon Siler is a character. He knows how to have fun on the football field."

What was the straw that broke the camel's back for Jones and his decision to become a Gator? Believe it or not it wasn't the stuff he saw on campus and the coaches. Certainly they factored into it, but it was the recruiting class he is going to be a part of. A handful of the class participated in an all-star week and game out in California in December.

"I went to the Florida - FSU game but I also visited Florida a lot," he said. "That was the game where they pulled in most of their commitments. That was crazy there that night."

"The Cali-Florida week is what really sealed the deal with me being a Gator, I made friends with Tim Tebow. He kept coming to me saying ‘what's up future teammate?' Dustin Doe is a great person and a funny dude. I know all those guys a lot now."

He and Doe put on a show out in California and were the stars for a defensive team that had the first shutout in the series with the 20-0 win.

"Dustin Doe and I were on the field tearing it up at the same time and we locked it down," Jones said. "Coach Meyer told me that was something special and he expects us to do the same thing on the field at Florida."

The Alabama Crimson Tide made it very difficult for Jones to commit to the Gators, even though he had so many connections. Alabama really does know how to recruit players and do it well.

"I loved Alabama, I got to know the coaches real well," Jones said. "I knew their coaches as well as anyone but Florida. It came down to a tough decision between the two. It came down to me being more used to Florida and knowing them a little bit better."

Now he is happy to be a Gator and will take his official visit this coming weekend to Gainesville and the Swamp. He plans on having his family there with him including his father who was hospitalized earlier last month to see about the choice he made.

"My father is doing better and is planning on coming on the official visit with me this weekend," Jones said. "I am looking forward to hanging out with the players and hanging out with my future teammates."

A.J. Jones is rated by most as the top linebacker in the state of Florida. The big time need for linebackers at Florida made Jones a top priority and two weeks before signing day, they met that need. A.J. Jones promises to be a big time player at the University of Florida.

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