Jones resurfaces as UK target

Kentucky has renewed interest in a familiar name from the 2011 class who has bolstered his profile at the junior college level.

It's not very often you see a prospect and a school part ways in the recruiting process only to be reunited at a later date.

But that's exactly what has happened with Riyahd Jones, a Georgia native who committed to Kentucky in November of his senior year, but saw the Wildcats part ways with him prior to national signing day in 2011.

Now at Garden City Community College in Kansas, Jones (6-0, 186, 4.46) has resurfaced as a UK target. He picked up a scholarship offer from the Wildcats last week and got a chance to speak with Joker Phillips via phone prior to the Cats' game against South Carolina.

"He told me he knew things didn't exactly work out the first time around, but he always believed in my potential and wants me to come up there and be part of their program," Jones said. "I know that may shock a lot of people who know about my past, but they're up there at the top of my list with Kansas State."

Jones holds offers from UK, Kansas State, Houston, Louisiana-Lafayette and Toledo. He's also hearing from programs like LSU and Oklahoma State.

Asked how he reacted when he first heard the Cats were still interested, Jones said: "I was glad to hear that. All that from the past is water under the bridge now. And I kind of understand why it happened from their perspective. Their staff was having some changes, and I was offered as a corner, but when their coaches watched film, all they had was me at receiver. They didn't have any idea if I could come in and play DB, and they needed some guys who could help right away. They weren't completely sure if I could do that, so we went our different ways.

"I'm totally past all that now. I'm just happy I still have some good opportunities and that Kentucky is one of them."

Jones plays with another former 2011 UK commitment, Marcoryeon Tandy from Christian County High School. He said Tandy played a role in helping him get back in touch with the Cats.

"He was talking to coach (Steve) Pardue one day and told him he should talk to me again," Jones said. "It wasn't too much longer after that they had watched some film on me and I heard from coach Pardue and coach (Mike) Cassity. They said they need some aggressive corners who can come in and help the program get turned around."

Jones said he watched UK play South Carolina on Saturday and came away impressed. The Cats led the No. 6 Gamecocks 17-7 at the half, but were outmanned in the second half of a 38-17 defeat.

"You can tell they're close," he said. "They just need more players so they can finish."

Jones, who played one year at Georgia Southern before transferring to Garden City, expects to graduate in December and enroll at his new college in January. He said UK and K-State will get visits, but he hasn't set up the dates yet.

Although he's playing in Kansas, he has not been to Manhattan yet, citing the four-hour trip from Garden City.


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