Alabama's the place for Hootie Jones

The battle for Laurence "Hootie" Jones was just another example of the intense recruiting war between Alabama and LSU. Though the decision went down to the wire, it was the Tide that ultimately came away with this four-star safety.

MONROE, La. — To say Laurence Jones' decision came down to the wire would be an understatement, but when it was all finished, the four-star safety chose Alabama over the home state LSU Tigers.

"Honestly, I think I made my mind up about 20 minutes before I spoke today," Jones said. "It was hard, there's no question about it."

Though he was torn between the two, he said it was ultimately just the feeling he had about Alabama that set them apart from their SEC rival.

"They recruited me the hardest," Jones said. "They showed the most love. They gave my momma the reasons I should go there, moreso than I guess LSU did. That's not to say LSU didn't recruit me hard. I love both of the schools. I just talked to God about and he gave me the feeling that Alabama was the best place."

Neither school backed down either. LSU coach Les Miles made an in-home visit with Jones Sunday night, then Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke with him on the phone Sunday night and Monday morning.

"He was just telling me not to make it for him, not to make it for LSU, to make it for myself," Jones said. "I talked to God about it, and he just gave me that feeling."

It was Jones' mother that played a large part in his ultimate decision. Though she said she liked both schools, Jones admitted that it was during his official visit to LSU on Nov. 23 that actually pushed the Tide in front.

"It was a very big part," Jones said. "It was just going to be which one she felt was being real with her, being truthful and not being fake. Getting her to like it was a big part because there's a good chance it's going to make me like it…

"My official visit [to LSU] probably sold her on Alabama more than anything."

Jones' commitment means another hit for Alabama in Monroe. The Tide also have commitments from West Monroe OT Cameron Robinson and Ouachita WR Cameron Sims. The three are close friends, but Robinson said he didn't know Hootie's choice until he made it official.

"I told him that I don't care where he goes, just to make the best decision for him," Robinson said. "I guess that's what he did. Of course I'm glad to have him at Alabama. He's a great player, and he's definitely going to make an impact when he's there…

"Everybody thinks I [pushed him to Alabama]," Robinson said. "But really the only thing I told him was to just go where his heart desired. Because I didn't want anybody telling me where I should go to school, and I didn't want to put that pressure on him."

As for Jones, he said he felt a tremendous weight relieved from his shoulders with this decision now behind him. Now he can focus on the rest of his senior season with the Neville Tigers in the semifinals with hopes of reaching the state championship for the fourth time in five years.

Though he knows LSU will not stop recruiting him until the very end, Jones said he's firm in the decision he made.

"I wish LSU good luck," Jones said. "I wish everybody that goes to LSU good luck, but Alabama's the place for me."

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