Unlimited potential with Jones

The success that Nebraska has had recently in the area of recruiting has been exciting. While most of the recent commitments have been anticipated, it's always fun to finally know it's official. What's better than anticipating a commitment is receiving one you weren't expecting. Marcel Jones did just that last night and committed to Nebraska.

The Nebraska commitment list has more than doubled since the end of October. The most recent person to add his name to the list is Marcel Jones.

Jones, an offensive tackle from Phoenix (Ariz.) Trevor Browne, stands 6-foot-8 and weighs in at around 320-pounds according to the school Athletic Director, Reynaldo Peru. Peru, a former collegiate player himself at Arizona State, said that Jones committed last night.

"I had a message waiting for me this morning from Coach Bill Busch from Nebraska," Peru said. "It said that Marcel had committed last night."

Jones would have been a three year starter at Trevor Browne had everything gone the way it was supposed to. Instead, you saw a player that didn't hang his head when he got hurt or when his team struggled.

"Marcel missed his junior year with a stress fracture. At the end of his sophomore year he thought that he had shin splints and continued to play on a fracture."

"They put him in a walking cast and he got cleared to play in spring football. However, there was still pain in the leg. It was still fractured."

"After that his appendix burst. Eventually they had to immobilize the leg and put him in a wheelchair. He missed all of his junior year."

Many get over physical injuries, but then have psychological or mental trauma that comes to pushing the body after an injury. Jones jumped right into basketball as soon as he got cleared.

"He got cleared last January and played the second half of the basketball season. After the season had ended he played all summer on an AAU team."

It's that leadership by example that is not only evident to the players around him, but also to his coach Randy Ricedorff. Ricedorff also has a collegiate football background having coached at Mesa C.C. Coach Ricedorff said that Jones' has the leadership ability to go along with being a physical specimen.

"Time will tell of course on how much success he has, but if any college scout saw him and knew what I knew, they wouldn't hesitate to pay for this guy's college education," said Randy Ricedorff, head man at Trevor Browne High in Phoenix. "He's a physical specimen. He's a leader (by example), he's got great leverage, a big guy with a lot of potential."

What Ricedorff knows, and a lot of others figure out, is that if Trevor Browne had some more success on the field, Jones would have probably been a better known commodity. Instead, his name is known by few, but those that know it do know that he is a special player.

"There wouldn't be any team in the country that wouldn't be coming after him -- UCLA, USC...Cal, Notre Dame, I am sure that if we're one of the top high school teams in the country, he's got a million people after him," said Ricedorff.

If that sounds like hyperbole from the coach of one of his players, consider two things: Ricedorff has also coached in the junior college ranks and seen a lot of talent. And then there's the fact that he's not the only one who is talking superlatives in the case of Jones.

College coaches can't talk to the media about individual prospects, but they obviously compare notes with the prep coaches when they come to visit and look at film. One college coach said to Ricedorff that Jones; "reminds him of a young Jonathan Ogden."

Peru said that it was through rough stretches of the season where the true character came out with the players at Trevor Browne. They had only won three games in two years and haven't really produced a major, college player.

"During the season kids would quit. Marcel stayed with it no matter what. He just never changed. His commitment to the team never changed. Three wins in two years might have kept some collegiate teams from recruiting him.

Peru has seen his share of collegiate players as well after playing for Arizona State from 1977-1981. Peru says that Jones is not only as big as you want, but agile. He says that since the injury and Jones return to the field that Jones is lighter and has improved his footwork.

"As far as playing offensive tackle, he benefits the most by being coordinated and being able to move. His footwork has really improved in the past couple of years."

"When those quarterbacks drop back to pass and you are a left tackle, it's your job to get the backside. With Jones' footwork and his ability to move it can really benefit Nebraska at that position."

The upside of Jones is obvious. You have coaches saying that you remind them of a present-day NFL All-Pro. His coach summed up Jones and his potential in just one word: unbelievable.

Peru says that even more than Jones' unbelievable potential is that he has the attitude to be successful at the next level. It's Jones' character, to Peru, that might be Jones biggest asset.

"Every once in a while you get a player you have to shape character, but with Marcel you have that in tact. Nebraska just needs to get him into the program, get him into the weight room and they will have themselves a great player."

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