Jones: 'They Are Great Guys'

Sam Jones wasn't sure what to expect when he headed up to Chatham, Virginia to attend prep school at Hargrave Military Academy.

He played his high school football at Fuquay-Varina (NC) High School, but after failing to qualify he knew that he had to attend Hargrave to pursue his dream of playing college football. Each day, Jones feels that he is improving at the military prep school.

"It's going good," Sam Jones told Pack Pride. "It's really not too bad. Everyday I feel like I'm getting better on the field, and I'm working hard on my grades.

"Right now I'm playing offensive guard. It's different than tackle, but I like it. I'm starting to get used to it... playing on the inside."

After playing defensive end and offensive tackle in high school, Jones admits that the transition hasn't been easy. He is trying to help Hargrave win games, but he feels that he will be back at tackle on the next level.

"I'm probably going to play offensive tackle... somewhere on the offensive line but probably back at tackle," he said. "I played defense some in high school and that made it easier for me when I went to offense. I see things differently."

At 6-foot-6 and 290-pounds, Jones is as impressive a physical specimen you will find on the prep level. Rated a four-star prospect by, he would generally overpower the opposition while in high school. However, Hargrave is arguably the top prep progam in the country, and each day he faces quality competition in practice. Two players in particular continue to impress Jones.

"Leon Mackey and [NC State commit] Kyle Linney... those are the main ones that impress me," said Jones. "They are awesome players... awesome athletes. I'm about 90% sure I will see both of them in the NFL. I feed off of them because they are my teammates. I'm picking up stuff everyday from them.

"They are very quick and have good football knowledge. Mackey has great hand-speed. Because he uses his hands so well it makes me have to use mine even more. Linney just has raw talent. He has some stuff that you can't coach. It catches your attention."

After originally committing to NC State, Jones didn't ink with the Wolfpack. Now he is at Hargrave looking to garner scholarship offers, and thus far three programs have stepped up and extended offers to Jones.

"[NC] State offered me again with the new staff, and I've also picked up offers from Marshall and Tennessee," he stated. "I know I've been getting looks from Florida and Florida State, but they haven't offered me yet.

"Tennessee just offered me. We just came from there last week when we had a game up there. I think it is a great program."

Hargrave didn't have a game this past weekend, and the coaches allowed the players to head home for a few days. Jones, who stated that his family has since moved from Fuquay to nearby Cary, spent some time with his family and friends, and he also made the short drive over to Carter-Finley Stadium where he attended the Wolfpack's game against Louisville.

"This past weekend we got to go home, and I went over to State and watched them play Louisville," said Jones. "I met coach O'Brien and the new staff. They are great guys. They are new faces, but they are open with you. They are real. They will tell you straight up. Coach Willis will tell you like it is whether you like it or you don't. They are great coaches but even better people."

Following the game, NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with Jones and it left an impression on him.

"We actually sat down one-on-one in his office and talked," said Jones. "It's different seeing him on TV and then looking him straight in the face. I liked talking with him. He gave me some encouragement. He told me that they wanted me there, and that he thinks I can go to State and help them out."

Unlike most other Hargrave players, Jones will be spending a full year at the prep school. He has a plan in place. He will take official visits after his season is over and then ink with a program in February. Currently Jones maintains that he is wide open and looking forward to taking official visits.

"State is No. 1 on my list right now as far as schools to visit, but I'm wide open," he said. "I told my coach that I'm definitely going to visit Marshall. The thing is with practice, games, and school it is hard to find time in my schedule to take visits right now.

"I'm going to be at Hargrave all year, and that gives me some more time. That's why I figure it would be best to wait until after the season. I want to see who all is out there. Come December after the combine, if nothing else jumps up I'm going to make my decision."

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