Jones Focusing on Academics

Fuquay-Varina (NC) lineman Sam Jones hopes to meet with NC State's new coaching staff in the near future.

The two-way lineman hasn't had a chance to make the short drive from Fuquay-Varina to the NC State campus where he can meet with head coach Tom O'Brien and the coaching staff.

"I haven't met with them yet... I'm suppose to sometime soon," Sam Jones told Pack Pride. "The last coach I talked to was coach Cignetti, I believe that was last week. We talked about my academics, but I haven't set my official visit yet.

"I think I'm going to take my visit later this month. I don't believe it's this weekend."

Following the end of his senior season, Jones has been focusing on his academics. He is working towards achieving a qualifying SAT score and the necessary GPA to enroll at NC State this summer.

"My grades are really coming along," he said. "I feel that I'm going to be fine. I've got a tutor to help me some in the math area, but everything else seems solid."

Jones was a big fan of former NC State head coach Chuck Amato and defensive line coach Todd Stroud, his recruiter. Although he was upset with the dismissal early on, after doing some research on Tom O'Brien he remains firmly committed to the Wolfpack.

"Definitely, I'm still solid with NC State," he said. "That's where I'm going to go. I did some research on [coach O'Brien], and he seems to know what he's doing.

"He did a good job up at Boston College, and I know it's a business. I believe he's going to do a real good job here at State. He turned BC around."

Jones is an interesting prospect. Just 17 years old, he is still developing physically and learning how to play football. Playing offensive line for Fuquay, he helped lead the Bengals to an 11-3 record after earning all-conference honors. At 6-foot-6 and 270-pounds, he has the frame to project as a defensive end, defensive tackle or offensive tackle on the next level. Does Jones have a preference?

"Honestly I like defensive end," he said. "I like playing both sides of the ball, but I like defensive end. I have my speed up and I love tackling people so much, but if the coaches want me on offense I'll just play whatever they want me to play. It's really up to them."

NOTES: Fuquay-Varina's Sam Jones might be the state's most physical-imposing football prospect and is regarded as one of North Carolina's top players. He burst on the scene this spring as a standout on the combine circuit. Checking in at 6-foot-5 and 265-pounds, he worked exclusively at defensive end and dominated blockers at the invite-only Shrine Bowl combine as he was arguably the most impressive defensive lineman in attendance.

After playing along the defensive line as a sophomore, he mainly played offensive tackle for the Bengals during his junior season, helping lead the team to the 2005 Tri-7 title.

Jones garnered offers from North Carolina, East Carolina, Tennessee and NC State prior to committing to the Wolfpack last spring.

Jones is expected to start out as a defensive lineman once he enrolls at NC State, but he could move to the offensive side of the ball later in his career. With his natural athleticism, long wingspan, and quick feet, Jones is the prototype offensive tackle prospect.

He checked in at No. 24 in's Preseason Top 50 Prospects in North Carolina, but if he is labeled an offensive line prospect, Jones could skyrocket up the rankings.

SCOUTING REPORT: "The future for Sam Jones from Fuquay Varina (NC) High School is all about potential. At 6-5, 270 pounds and boasting 5.2-second speed in the 40, Jones has a ready-made college frame now and he moves extremely well for his size.

"He has all the tools to become a force at that position down the road."

"He shows good flexibility and his long arms make him a perfect match for a future at offensive tackle. However, at this early stage of his career, Jones is probably much more polished and appears more comfortable at defensive tackle. He will need work hammering down his technique at offensive tackle, but he has all the tools to become a force at that position down the road.

"Just 17, his body is still maturing, and he is year younger physically, and as a football player, when compared to his high school counterparts.

"All of the physical tools are there. Jones will simply need time and experience to evolve into the type of lineman that the NC State coaches envision." -- Pack Pride Recruiting Analyst Steve Williams

JONES QUOTE: "I want to try and get as big as I can and keep my speed and quickness. I want to be around 285 pounds before I get to State, but I think I could get up to 300 pounds.

"I think I can stay at defensive end at 300 pounds because I've been working on my speed and quickness. I'm going to play wherever they see me at. I'm going to play wherever State sees that I fit."

COACH QUOTE: "I think Sam would project as an offensive tackle, but that's just my opinion and depends on how his body fills out. He's being recruited by all the schools as a lineman.

"Physically he's coming into his own, and I think he's maturing also mentally as he gets older.

"I think again, the fact is you get a guy like that and if you redshirt him, not that they would do that but it would make sense to me, in a couple of years you are going to have a man on your hands. There's no telling how big he is going to get." -- Fuquay-Varina head coach David Riggs

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