Terps Eyeing Jones

2013 WR/CB Dante Jones from Southeast Raleigh High hopes to impress Terp coaches at camp in June.

Dante Jones, a 2013 prospect from Southeast Raleigh High (Raleigh, NC) will admit that he tends to be two different players on the field. Just ask him.

“On offense I'm a shifty juker,” said Jones. “I'm more into finesse, not so much hitting people. But on defense it's actually the opposite. I love hitting people on defense.”

The junior has made a name for himself on both sides of the ball, as a receiver and a cornerback, and now is getting looks from some top programs. While he has yet to pick up his first offer, Jones has been talking to the likes of Maryland, Middle Tennessee, Wake Forest, UNC, Duke and Vanderbilt.

“I still have to work out for a few schools in the coming weeks so I'm hoping I can pull one or two offers then,” said Jones. “Most coaches are telling me they want me to come to camp this summer and that will be a determinant as to whether I get an offer or not.”

Standing at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, Jones recognizes that he won't be able to beat his opponent with his size at the next level and therefore has refined the mental aspect of his game.

“My biggest strength is knowing the game and knowing how to get open,” he said. “Once I catch the ball I can let the rest speak for itself. On the defensive side of the ball, since I play offense and know offense, I can tell what certain people are going to do. So it helps me to jump routes sometimes.”

“He's not necessarily a very flashy player but he's always around the ball and been in position to make plays for us when we needed to make them,” said Southeast Raleigh Coach Kamelio Johnson. “Just a real rock solid ball player.”

Although most schools have been recruiting Jones as a receiver, Maryland is one of the few programs that are looking at the rising senior as a defensive back. In fact, he will be in College Park on June 23 for the Terrapins camp.

Jones has been in contact with Maryland recruiting coordinator John Dunn, who has impressed the standout prospect with the second-year coach's honesty. “I've been dealing with some coaches who are liars,” said Jones. “They tell you one thing then do the other. So I respect the fact that he keeps it real with me at all times.”

Dunn, who talks to Jones once a week, was especially frank when explaining the Terps' intentions with their 2013 recruiting class. “Well he said they're only signing one, or maybe two receivers for this class and they need a bunch of defensive backs,” said Jones. “He'd [Dunn] like to fit me in either as a corner or a safety. So, I'm going to Maryland's camp as a defensive back.”

The Raleigh native has ties to College Park, as family friend and former Southeast Bulldog Demetrius Hartsfield now patrols the linebacker position for the Terps. “Demetrius is always around the ball and he has tons of tackles,” said Jones, who says he's watched the Terps play on occasion.

According to Kamelio Johnson, it's hard to tell what side of the ball his star would be better suited playing on at the next level. “I don't know and I say that because with the way college football has evolved, there are certain attributes of players that could allow them to be on either side of the ball, depending on where they go,” said Johnson. “But systems are so sophisticated and recruiting has gotten so detailed and specific now that certain schools are looking for certain things. So it's really kind of tough and it's all based on who is recruiting him.”

Although Jones' future is, at this point, uncertain, he has no reservations about his goals for his final year of high school football. “I'm out there trying to win a state championship,” he said. “That's what I'm focused on.”

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