Mississippi State plans to roll out the big Maroon carpet for one of the nation's top sophomores.

Lebanon, Tennessee product Mike Jones Jr. is already getting a sense of what it feels like to be in demand. Just a sophomore, Jones made the move from his home in Tennessee to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. While the departure from Friendship Christian to IMG was a loss for the coaches and teammates back home and Tennessee, Jones made a decision that he feels prepares him best for the future.

One of the top prospects nationally for the 2018 signing class, Mike Jones Jr. has collected offers from several college football programs despite his status as underclassmen. The talented Jones reports that he began putting the work in early on.

"I have offers from Tennessee, Clemson, Ole Miss, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Vanderbilt and a few more," Jones said. "I can't say I was really expecting all of this to happen so early, but at the same time I can't say that I am really surprised.

"My dad has always talked me about working hard. He has always tried to instill in me that if you work hard, that good things will happen. I have been working hard on and off the field for the past few years. I guess you could say I really started working hard to be the best I could be since around the 8th grade.

"I knew what I wanted to do and I just started working for it. Now all of that hard work is starting to pay off."

Jones has offers and interest from around the southeast with just about every school in the SEC showing some level of interest. The talented safety will make his first visit to Starkville, Mississippi next week to see what the Bulldogs of Mississippi State have to offer.

"I am taking an unofficial visit to see Mississippi State next week," Jones shared. "I don't know a whole lot about them, but I have watched them play on TV a few times. Growing up in Tennessee, you get to see all of the teams in the SEC. I know that they are a good program and I am excited to visit there and meet all of the coaches."

Jones is currently projected to play safety, but with two more years of high school football left we may see the 6-1 hit man make a position change before he hits the college level.

"I am up to 220 pounds already, so I think I might end up playing outside linebacker," Jones said. "I enjoy playing safety, but I would have no problem playing linebacker. I can cover, so I feel like I could handle one of those outside linebacker spots without any trouble.

"I just enjoy playing the game of football, so I am willing to play whatever I need to play. I can play safety or linebacker. It doesn't really matter to me."

With nearly two years before his own national signing day, Jones reports that he is going to take his time and enjoy the full benefits of the recruiting process. While some believe Tennessee is the team to beat, Jones reports that he plans to keep an even keel as he learns what all of his options are.

Jones is the son of former NFL defensive end Mike Jones who ended his professional playing career with Tennessee Titans. Jones Sr. played his college ball at North Carolina State.

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