Few players did more to help their recruiting stock at this past weekend's Shrine Bowl Super Combine than defensive lineman Sam Jones from Fuquay-Varina (NC) High School. At 6-5, 262 pounds, Jones was a monster during drills and one-on-ones. The rising senior has an impressive frame, moved extremely well given that size and gave opposing offensive linemen fits all day when running plays.
Although most recruiting fans know little about Jones, he has surfaced on the radar of several colleges.
"Right now, I'm hearing from East Carolina, Tennessee, NC State, UNC, Auburn, Virginia Tech and Virginia," said Jones. "East Carolina and NC State have offered, and they are recruiting me the hardest."
Jones is a two-way threat for Fuquay-Varina, doubling as an offensive tackle and defensive end. He's not sure exactly where he'll end up in college but he knows what he hopes to be doing.
"I love defense," he said. "I just love hitting people. I'd say I'm kind of like Julius Peppers but I don't want to be like Peppers. I want to be Sam Jones."
Although still early in the recruiting process, Jones has three programs that have etched a spot in his top three.
"My top schools right now are State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech," he said. "With Virginia Tech I love the way they develop their offensive tackles.
"At State, I like their defense, especially Mario Williams and Manny Lawson. I love how their defensive ends are. I've talked to their offensive coach and defensive coach so they really haven't said which position they like me for.
"With Tennessee, I went there once. I just love the feel of walking in that stadium."
Jones doesn't have a timetable for making a decision and appears to be a ways off from making a commitment. He plans to camp at NC State and UNC this summer.