Ga. WR Schedules UNC Visit

Scout.com four-star wide receiver Tai-ler Jones plans to announce his collegiate decision by June.

"I just want to get it out of the way and know what school I'm going to going into my senior year," Jones said. "And I can put my focus on developing myself as an athlete and getting into the weight room."

Originally, Jones had hoped to make a verbal commitment much sooner. The 6-foot, 175-pound athlete was eager to commit before Gainesville (Ga.) High's spring practice began during the first week of May.

Junior Highlights:
However, Jones, who aims to give every scholarship offering school a fair shake, continues to add contenders, regularly.

"All these offers keep coming," Jones said. "Every week, I'm getting a new offer. If this keeps happening for the next month or so, I'm going to have to stretch [my decision] out, [again]."

As of Tuesday night, Jones had collected 23 scholarship offers. His offers list includes California, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, and UCLA.

Before committing, Jones says he'll "probably" narrow his list of choices to five schools.

"As of right now, all the schools are on an equal playing field," Jones said. "But I have as much interest in [UNC] as I do in other schools."

To help break the – currently – 23-way tie, Jones will attempt to visit, this spring, as many of the schools that have offered him as possible. He has already visited Florida State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Also, he has scheduled trips to UNC (on Feb. 28 – Junior Day) and Wake Forest, and is finalizing a West Coast swing to see California, Stanford, and UCLA.

"Definitely, [I'll be focused on] how strong the degree is – how much weight it pulls in the business world – and how strong a department they have in my major, which is broadcast journalism," Jones said.

"Secondly, [I'll focus on] the environment that the coaches build around the team and the environment that is built around the campus, in general. That is important to be me, because if they can give me that ‘at home' feeling and make me feel like I am really a part of the family when I go there, then I'll know I won't have to worry about getting homesick.

"Lastly, just playing time and then if they give every athlete an equal opportunity and play the best of the best, not juniors before sophomores and freshmen."

Steve Hagen began recruiting Jones for UNC last fall and has been in regular contact ever since. Recently, though, John Blake stepped into the picture assisting in the handling of Jones' recruitment.

"First of all, [they've] talked about the advantages of going to North Carolina, how it's a good degree, and the place it's located in – how you couldn't ask for a better surrounding for a campus," Jones said. "They've talked about how much pro experience they have on their staff and how they've produced great wide receivers like [Hakeem Nicks], even though they're not a spread offense."

UNC extended Jones a scholarship offer during the latter parts of his junior football season.

"[Blake] said I'm an explosive player," Jones said. "He likes the way I play – it looks like I have a knack for the game, I have a good feel for my surroundings, and I can read the defense well. And [he likes that] I make catches in traffic and do big things with the ball."

UNC, like most schools, is recruiting Jones primarily as a receiver. But the coaching staff recognizes that his athleticism could allow him to excel at another position.

"Every school I've spoken to recently, they like me on both sides of the ball," Jones said. "So I can come in as a receiver, but they might let me play both ways."

Jones began his prep career at Roswell (Ga.) High – playing with UNC linebacker Ebele Okakpu – before moving to Gainesville prior to his junior year.

As a freshman, Jones saw significant reps at cornerback for Roswell's GHSA 5A State Championship squad. He became the starting slot receiver the following season, catching 21 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns.

At Gainesville, Jones started at flanker and ended his junior campaign with 81 catches for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, and nine rushes for 104 yards and another score. Following the fourth game of the season, Jones added a starting role in the secondary accumulating 32 tackles, two interceptions, and a forced fumble.

Tai-ler Jones Profile


Inside Carolina Top Stories