Gene Swindoll -

Former Louisville High School standout talks about how his life has changed in recent months.

Mississippi State cleaned up in state when it came to the 2015 in state class. The lone member of that impressive Magnolia State haul not on campus in Starkville is Louisville High product Dontea Jones. Jones was forced to go the prep school route and is currently enrolled at Jireh Prep in Matthews, North Carolina. Needless to say, Jones had had to transition into a new of life.

In addition to Jones making the move to North Carolina for the fall semester, he became a father and moved from wide receiver to the tight end position. The last ninety days has been a constant state of change.

"It's been different being away from home and being away from my family," Jones said. "That's really the toughest part of it all. This is the first time I have ever really been away from home, so it took some time to get used to."

Jones has had to grow up in a hurry, but he reports that every move he has to make has allowed him to mature as a person and as a football player.

"Everything is going good with school," Jones said. "I am going to be at Mississippi State in December. Football is going good. I am getting used to playing at tight end. It was a little different than what I was used to playing receiver, but I am getting it all done.

"A lot of the offensive concepts we run here with our offense is a lot like what we are going to run at Mississippi State. That's helpful, because I plan to come in and compete right away."

With the Bulldogs now in season, Jones and the coaching staff are not in direct contact as frequently as they were prior to the season. That said, the Mississippi State coaches are well aware of how Jones is progressing.

"It's been a couple of weeks since I talked to them, but they talk to my coaches a lot," Jones said. "They are checking up with me or my coaches to see how things are going. We're 3-1 on the season and we have a big game coming up in Virginia this weekend.

"I stay busy up here with school and football, so I am not calling a lot of people. Now that the season is here, I am always busy and I know they are too. They don't have to call me all of the time. I am just ready to get down there."

While Jones has not been able to make a trip home since reporting to school, he has watched his future team play on television.

"I have watched every State game this year," Jones said with pride. "I feel like we're off to a great start and that the team is playing pretty well. I like how they are using the tight end and I feel like I fit in well with the offense.

"Watching those games on TV just gets me more excited about getting down there and getting started. I am ready to just be there and be on campus."

Jones admits that from time to time he battles with home sickness, but he knows that his time away from home is a means to a better end.

"I know what I have to do and I am going to be back down there in a couple of months," Jones said. "I am hoping to slip off and take a visit down there soon, but I know soon enough I will be back in Mississippi. I will be able to be on campus with the team and be back with family. I will be back home and I am going to spend as much time with my daughter as I can.

"I have to work hard and do all of the things I need to do to get my education and make a better life for her. I know what I have to do and I am ready to get started."

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