Nebraska finds a new place with Jones

Recruiting is a funny thing, especially if you are an in-state recruit and that state just happens to be Nebraska. If the offer is there, Husker fans expect you to be there one day, Memorial stadium that is. D.J. Jones has been exploring his options instead, but always in the back of his mind have been the Huskers. Now, they might have moved a little more to the front.

I've heard it all when Nebraska kids that have Nebraska offers are considering actually looking around. Fans take umbrage with that sort of thing. They should be Huskers, end of story, no more debate, just commit and get it over with.

Well, like many, Omaha Central lineman D.J. Jones has decided to explore his options, consider the schools around and actually think things through before making a definite life-changing decision.

However, Nebraska is still Nebraska.

When you have grown up in the state, seen the successes of the program, regardless of how much you look, ponder and speculate about a future someplace else, the Huskers inevitably come up in the process.

For Jones, after visiting the 2005 Red/White game, Nebraska's place in his process seems to have changed. "Oh, they've definitely moved up," Jones said. "I really enjoyed the whole experience, the fans, coaches and everything."

The fans, well, Jones knew they would show up in droves. And, as for everything else, what does any Nebraska kid expect from a major Nebraska event? The coaches, however, that's been the kicker for Jones, because he's wanted a chance to really sit down and talk about his possible future. "What made it kind of special this time was that me, my mom and dad got a chance to sit down and talk with coach Blake," D.J. said. "That made it better, because I talked to him about the relationships that you can build down there and exactly how it is and how people get along."

That's just one of the many criteria Jones has had for the schools he's looking at for his future and a big reason why he's been looking around at other schools like Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Of course, there isn't anything more he knows about those schools as he does about the program he's followed most of his life.

The familiarity didn't stop Jones from being impressed, however, with his experience at the spring game, especially with the record-setting crowd. "Even though I kind of expect that there, it still plays a big part on me," he said. "Just seeing all those fans and how they act, like when Ahman (Green) came out and they were just screaming and yelling, that plays a big part in my decision, because it lets you know you have fans that like you even after your gone."

Jones also learned about the fans that they are a little more studious than first thought, because there were plenty of people he didn't know, but definitely knew him. "I was just walking around there and people were like ‘D.J., D.J' and I was surprised," he said. "A whole bunch of little kids came up here and wanted autographs and I even signed a guy's shirt."

.. You'll have to forgive D.J. and his admiration for the attention. Heck, most of these kids like to know that they are appreciated, liked, admired, whatever. And, when it comes from the fan base of the team that is an icon in the state you live, well, all the better.

That's why Nebraska has moved up.

No, they weren't at the bottom, but Jones has kept everything as much on an even keel as possible. Trying to look at everyone equal, thinking about his future in overall terms versus just football, he's tried to maintain a certain objectivity.

It has nothing to do with his desires, though, as has been probably confused by some fans, but by something that Jones knows all too well himself. "I'm just 16 years old and I don't think that I should make any rash decisions," he said. "It has nothing to do with Nebraska not being a great team or a team I like. It's just that I am trying to think this thing through. That's all. I am just trying to make the best decision for me."

Jones said that his decision could still be down the road. He's not sure as to what, when or where, at least not yet. But, if Nebraska was looking to make an even better impression on him and make sure that the Huskers never left his thoughts, they had definite success. "It's Nebraska," he said. "And, when you see something like that at the spring game, it just reminds you about it. That's why they are definitely up the charts for me."


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