Jones is hoping for an offer

Jairus Jones is taking his time with his recruitment, hoping that his performance on the field this season will begin to turn the heads of college coaches that are looking for his services.

For now though, the focus is on helping his Tampa (Fla.) Wharton squad reach the playoffs. The Wildcats are 6-2 heading into Friday’s matchup with Riverview (1-7), and the 3-star safety says that although he doesn’t know the exact numbers, he leads the county in tackles and is tied for second in interceptions.


"We are on a six game winning streak," Jones said. "We are just playing really well. It is good because now that we are in a rhythm, so am I."


"I start at safety," Jones added. "But I rotate from free to strong throughout the game. I also drop to linebacker on a lot of our plays."


The fun for Jones, who is getting recruited to play safety in college, does not stop when the defense leaves the field.


"I play running back and receiver as well," he said. "I actually have caught eight touchdowns this season, and I have run for four [touchdowns]. The only time I am really not on the field is kickoffs and punt returns, because those are the only two units I don't play with. I definitely feel myself wearing down some games, especially if I don't ever get a chance to come off the field."


With a full plate on Friday nights, Jones has decided to forgo his senior season on the basketball and track teams, which he has been an integral part of throughout his high school career.


"I think I do want to get back into baseball though," he said. "I am letting go on two other sports, but baseball is one that I quit playing in middle school when I should not have. I really enjoy it, and the coach has been coming to our football games and watching me play."


Closer to the front of the country’s 80th ranked safety’s mind is the recruiting process, which is growing towards crunch time.


"I have not taken any visits," Jones said. "I had been planning on taking some, and then I put everything off until my season was over with. Now, I am not sure when things will start up, but I know I want to start seeing some schools sooner than later."


Wharton High looks to make a run into the playoffs come November, which Jones hopes will be another place for him to showcase his talent.


"The playoffs are a bigger stage," he said. "More people will be watching, and you have to step up. If I can keep turning heads, then my process will open itself up even more."


As for Jones' schools of interest at the moment, the Tigers are still very much on his radar.


"I have not gotten an offer yet, but I am still just going out there and giving it all I have," Jones said. "LSU is a great place with a lot of tradition, and that is something I really like. Coach [Earl] Lane has been recruiting me, and I talk to him every now and then.


"My dad actually just talked with the coaches to set up a visit," Jones added. "We aren't sure when it will be yet, because of the playoffs and all that, but it could be during the season if we can find the chance. It might even be in these next few weeks. If not, I will be down to Baton Rouge after November for a visit.”


If LSU does offer then that would put a big smile on Jones’ face, as well as someone else close to him.


“They [LSU] are in the SEC, and that is really important to my mom as well,” said Jones. “She wants me at an SEC school so that if I ever go pro one day, I will have already played against the speed that I can expect on that next level."


As for other schools Jones is interested in, offers from Nebraska and North Carolina State are the two that stand out to him. He says that Nebraska is recruiting him the hardest, but North Carolina State may offer an added bonus.


"I really like Nebraska a lot," he said. "Coach [Bo] Pelini is really making progress with the team, and they are going to be good like they were in the 90's. They are definitely recruiting me the hardest, and I talk to [running backs] coach [Tim] Beck a lot. They say that they have a place for me to fit in, so I want to get out there and check them out as soon as I can.


"I also like N.C. State," Jones added. "They are the only other school that is really standing out to me, in terms of what we talk about around home. They had a pretty good defense a few years ago, and they are the kind of team that can put things back together and have success quickly. Also, my brother [Josh] plays middle linebacker at Elon. They aren't too far from each other, so I would be close to my brother and my parents would easily get to see us both play."

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