FR CB Dominic Jones Makes an Early Impression

Dominic Jones intercepted 28 passes as a high school player at Columbus (OH) Brookhaven, helping to lead the Bearcats to an Ohio State title as a senior. It is that big-play mentality that has helped propel him into the starting cornerback spot as a freshman. caught up with Jones after Saturday's scrimmage.

Dominic Jones, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound defensive back, was named the 2004 Ohio Division II Defensive Player of the Year. Jones was a three-time all-city and all-conference selection and was all-area and all-state as a junior and senior. He also received the Blue Chip Award presented by the Ohio Touchdown Club.

Jones ran the 100 meters, 4x100, and 4x200 for Brookhaven. The 4x100 meter relay team finished second and the 4x200 meter relay team finished third at the Division 2 state track and field championships. Jones ran a 4.28 4-yard dash at Ohio State camp and he has a 39-inch vertical. Jones has excellent strength as he has bench pressed 305 pounds and squatted 410 pounds.

Jones is also an excellent student as he had a 3.8 GPA at Brookhaven. He was a Honor Roll student and a member of National Honor Society who is planning on majoring in business.

Jones committed to Minnesota in December after visiting the campus. He was one of three Brookhaven teammates to sign with the Gophers. His brother Keith Massey and Alex Daniels will both play for Minnesota this year.

Jones had four solo tackles and six assisted tackles to lead the Bearcats to a 42-21 win over Avon Lake in the Division II state championship. He also returned an interception 34 yards, broke up two passes and ran 29 yards on a fake punt.

Jones committed to Pittsburgh last summer, but decided to visit Minnesota, due to questions about Pittsburgh head coach Walt Harris leaving for another job. Harris eventually took the head coaching job at Stanford.

Jones had nine interceptions as a senior and was a four-year starter for the Bearcats. As a junior, Jones had 11 interceptions and was named D-II all-state as well as district player of the year. He finished his career with 186 tackles, 27 sacks, and 16 pass breakups. Jones averaged 14.2 yards per punt return and 30.3 yards per kickoff return with 10 touchdown returns for his career.

Jones, who was considered by some observers as the most dangerous return man in the Midwest, is expected to start at defensive back as well as return punts.

Jones said that he was hoping to get the chance to contribute quickly as a freshman.

"I did not know how soon, but I knew coming out of high school that I did have an opportunity to come in and contribute soon. I got my opportunity earlier than I was supposed to and I have made the most of it."

Jones said that he has had to make several adjustments to move up to playing at the collegiate level.

"Just the speed of the game. It is speeded up and it is more mental. The wide receivers run crisper routes and the quarterbacks are more precise with the ball. The wide receivers are a little more physical."

Gopher assistant coach Mitch Browning, who recruited the Brookhaven trio had said that the only thing going against Jones was his size, especially when he goes up against bigger receivers. However, Jones feel that he is preparing for that by going up against the Gopher wideouts.

"You think about the other teams, but you think about Micah Rucker, Jared Ellerson and Ernie Wheelwright. I see those guys every day in practice. I am getting good competition here and they are preparing me every day. I have to face these guys in practice, so I don't really see it as a problem. As long as I can be physical and use my other attributes to my advantage, I'll be all right. With my speed, quickness and my physicality, I can pretty much match up with anybody. "

Jones will likely get the opportunity to prove that he is ready as a freshman as teams will likely test him often and early. Jones will make his college debut Sept. 1 against Tulsa.

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