To say things have been going well for Jaylon Jones would be an understatement. The 2016 Allen (Tex.) high standout is coming off a stellar junior campaign during which he registered a team-leading 117 tackles for a squad that finished 17-0. Now he is realizing more of fruits of his labor, this time in the form of scholarship offers. Thus far he has racked up 14, including tenders from storied programs like Auburn, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Miami, Nebraska, and Michigan. It only takes viewing a few seconds of his film to see why.
“I’m a safety that basically like a linebacker,” said Jones. “Whenever I see run, I will come downhill to hit you. I am not afraid to hit a running back or tight ends. Some safeties can't cover slots. I’ll come down to cover the slot. If the best receiver is outside, I’ll come play corner for you. I’m just an all-around player that loves to win, plays with emotion and passion and just very hungry on the field.”
The 6-0, 180-pounder is so versatile that some of his suitors are courting him as a cornerback, and that’s just fine by him.
“I like safety, but I can see myself at corner too,” Jones said. “Every time a team offers me, I let them know that it is up to them. I can play safety or corner. Most of them have offered me as safety, but I’ve told them I can play corner. I can play both and it is up to the coaches.”
Michigan is among those that would love the opportunity to figure out where best to line him up. The Wolverines only recently joined the party, but they’ve made a strong first impression.
“I kind of wasn’t expecting it,” said Jones. “(Coach Partidge) seemed real chill. He was very easy to talk to and I can tell that we will have a good relationship and I could tell he was a cool coach.”
“I’ve known of (Michigan), especially since they got Coach Harbaugh. For him to offer me that means a lot. I always knew Michigan was a good team, but now I’m really looking into it now that they’ve offered.”
While there is clearly a great deal for him to learn about the Maize & Blue, Jones’ preliminary knowledge of program (and especially one of its players) has caused him to hold the Wolverines in very high regard.
“I know they have a good academics program,” Jones stated. “They have a great defense. And obviously they got Jabrill Peppers for a reason. They’re good at recruiting. I knew he was a top DB and could have gone anywhere. Picking Michigan was pretty crazy. I didn’t see that coming. I honestly knew something good was going on with Michigan.”
Now he wants to get up to campus and see for himself exactly what that is.
“I haven’t really thought of (a visit date for Michigan) yet. Right now I’m taking a lot of Texas visits and I need to get some of these out of state schools a chance and see how they are. “Yeah no doubt (I’ll visit Michigan). I don’t know when, but we’re definitely going to try.”
The “we” Jones is speaking of includes a couple of teammates that Michigan also extended scholarships to. They make take some visits together, but that shouldn’t be taken to mean that they’re definitely looking to attend the same school.
The Wolverines might appear to be at a proximal disadvantage in this race, but it just seems that way. At this stage of him recruitment he insists he has no favorites.
“Like I was telling these coaches… if I get a chance to compete and I really think the defensive and staff can help me get to the next level also, I’m there. It doesn’t matter as far as distance. I’d say (the most important factor) in my decision is definitely getting a chance to compete for early playing time. That is the main goal.“