The No. 185 overall player in the country and Austin (Tex.) Westlake linebacker Levi Jones is set for a rematch in this week's playoff matchup with Westlake's rival, Lake Travis, in the Texas Class 6A, Division I state quarterfinal. The rivals get together with Jones and Westlake looking to beat Lake Travis for the first time in nine meetings and avenge a 49-7 loss in October.
"We're on a roll right now. We're doing pretty good. I'm excited for this week," Jones said. "It's a do or die attitude. It could be my last, but I'm not going to let it be my last. Just play more physical and smarter than last time."
On the recruiting front, Texas A&M, LSU, USC, UCLA, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Colorado are standing out to the four-star linebacker. Every school is even right now according to Jones, who hasn't given recruiting a ton of attention because of his focus on his season.
On Sunday and Monday, the No. 13 overall outside linebacker in 2017 talked with LSU Director of Player Personnel Austin Thomas about the Tigers letting go of his recruiting coach Bradley Dale Peveto.
"It was Coach Pev until they got rid of him. The only coach that has reached out is Austin Thomas. He said Coach O decided to move in a different direction with special teams and decided to let him go," Jones said. "Coach Pev, I talked to him and he said he wishes the best for me and to not lose interest in them and what not."
LSU is trying to get in to see Jones for an in-home visit this week, but he's not sure if it'll work out with playoffs just yet. LSU is among one of the top schools on his list right now. The Tigers seems Jones at almost any of the linebacker spots in Dave Aranda's 3-4 defense.
"I love LSU and the defense of course. They like me at outside or in and coach Peveto said I could play both," Jones said. "It's just where I fit best in the defense or system."
Aranda and Ed Orgeron have been working to build a relationship with Jones, who talked with Orgeron on Sunday since he was hired as full-time head coach.
"Me and coach Aranda are pretty cool. He's a great DC," Jones said. "He (Orgeron) likes me a lot and it's mutual. He's a great guy and a great coach."
While Jones didn't make it over for a game at Tiger Stadium, he's heard about the buzz of Saturday Night in Death Valley and contends taht LSU is one of the top schools on his list.
"I've visited a couple times. I like it a lot. It's very nice. I love the stadium. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to witness the gameday atmosphere, but I've heard it's very hype and awesome," Jones said. "LSU was my first SEC offer and I've always wanted to play in the SEC or PAC 12. They're really up there."
Jones isn't getting pitched by many of the LSU commits, but has talked with LSU's newest commit in 2018 athlete Caden Sterns and has talked to 2017 cornerback commit Kary Vincent, Jr. from time-to-time too.
"I haven't talked to too many. I just talked to the kid that plays at Cibolo Steele (Caden Sterns) that just committed and he was telling me to join the family. I keep in touch with him," Jones said. "I've talked to Kary Vincent, Jr. My second visit is when I met him. He hadn't committed yet, but it was a pretty big deal when he did. Me and him keep in touch."
UCLA is another school along with USC on his list that may seem far away, but that's not an issue for Jones.
"Distance isn't a factor at all. I want to leave Texas, but also have a really strong interest in A&M. I like the west coast and California. USC and UCLA are great fits for me," Jones said. "I really like coach White at UCLA. When I visited, he took care of me."
Jones took in a game at Texas A&M as well this fall and it made such an impression that even with Jones wanting to head out of state, he's kept the Aggies in it.
"Overall, A&M is a great place, a great school and I love the gameday atmosphere. Coach Chavis has coached a lot of great players and he's a great DC as well," Jones said. "One of my best friends is an Aggie fan and he really struck interest in the Aggies for me."
When Charlie Strong was let go by Texas, that put Texas pretty much out of it for Jones' signature.
"I always wanted to leave Texas, but I didn't want to count them out because I love coach Strong. I think he's a great coach. After them getting rid of him, I didn't like that," Jones said. "I'm just moving on."
Jones is waiting to decide on when he will take his official visits based on when his high school season finishes up. From there, he will either decide at the Under Armour All-American Game on January 1 or sometime after that before or on National Signing Day. No surprise that Jones is looking for the total package in his college.
"Just a place where they can develop me on and off the field. I want to play in the league so a school that gives me the best opportunity to play early. Another thing is if I get hurt, a school where my degree can carry me."
"Jones is a player who rose through the recruit ranks powered behind a strong junior year. He made a ton of plays as Austin Westlake made a deep march into the playoffs. He is always around the football and is physically a dominant force. He forces the action, making a good amount of plays behind the line of scrimmage and shows bursts of speed in the open field allowing him to chase down plays from sideline-to-sideline. He is long and lean and has the frame to be an even more impressive specimen as he matures. The brother of Cayleb Jones, who was also a Scout 300 prospect." - Greg Powers