Charlie Jones Talks Recruiting

After watching over 600 kids in person at two NIKE Training Camps this past spring, attending eight different spring jamborees, viewing a dozen spring practices in the state of Florida, and reviewing hours of tape from junior seasons, I have seen enough players this year to form an opinion of who the state's top prospect is.

Meet Homestead (South Dade) standout running back Charlie Jones.

The talented runner started playing football when he was just eight years old.

"I've always been a running back," Jones said. "I think I was born to be a running back in football. It has always come natural to me. I also played linebacker up until high school when I started to focus on just offense."

Jones ran wild -- going for over 1,700 yards -- as a junior last season despite battling a shoulder injury all season.

"When we were having two a days last August my shoulder felt like it popped out of place," he said. "I didn't think it was that serious at the time but then after my first game it really started to bother me. The pain never went away. I'd wake up on Saturday mornings in so much pain."

Jones was evaluated during the season and was told he should have surgery on the injured shoulder before it got worse.

"I wasn't about to miss any games because of it," he said. "I needed to help my team. I couldn't walk away from them so I waited."

Unfortunately for Jones, his injured shoulder got worse as the season progressed.

"It turned out I had a strained ligament, a chip on the bone, and something else," he said. "I finally got surgery and now it feels great. It doesn't bother me. I sat out this spring to rest it and I can't wait until I can run with a healthy shoulder again. This season can't get here fast enough."

At 5-foot-10 1/2 and 205 pounds, Jones said has has two qualities that separate him from other running backs.

"I have vision and quickness that set me apart," he said. "I can always see everything and I never let anyone get a good shot on me."

Jones, a full academic qualifier after scoring an 850 on the SAT this past spring, was the center of attention at South Dade despite not playing a down this spring.

"I have gotten a lot of phone calls and a lot of scholarship offers," he said. "It seems like the list builds every day but I've pretty much it down to about five that I really like. They are Miami, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and N.C. State."

Jones said he has scholarship offers from all five programs.

"All five of them have offered me a scholarship," he said. "They've all said I have an opportunity to play for their programs."

The talented running back said there's one school on his list that stands out above the rest right now.

"I'm really thinking about Miami right now," he said. "I'm into them a lot. They have it all it seems. They've pretty much become Running Back U because of all the great running backs they've had in recent years. Plus they all seem to go really high in the NFL Draft. Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore. I want to add my name to that list someday."

Jones said there are other reasons why the Hurricanes are the team to beat right now.

"They run pretty much the same offense that we run here at South Dade," he said. "Plus we like to play smash mouth football here and that's the way Miami does it. I think I would fit in really well."

Jones said he's had conversations with three separate UM coaches over the past several weeks.

"I've talked to Coach Werner, Coach Coker, and Coach Soldinger," he said. "Coach Coker is real cool, I like him. They say he's a players coach. I basically told him that I'm very interested in becoming a Hurricane."

Despite being so high on the Hurricanes right now, Jones is still keeping his options open.

"I'm still looking at the other schools too," he said. "I don't know when I'll commit or anything like that but it's looking real good for Miami."

Jones plans on being at UM's three-day summer camp that starts next Saturday.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I hope Bobby [Washington] is there. He's a great player and I know he committed. That doesn't bother me though. They also signed a great player in Tyrone Moss this year. None of that matters to me. I'm confident in my ability and I'll go in and compete against anyone. That's what makes you a better player."

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