Jones Just Makes Plays

If you're a college football coach in search of dynamic athletes, you recruit the state of Florida. One of the most intriguing players in the country is John Jones of Booker high school (Sarasota, Fla.) Jones is getting recruiting attention from around the country and Notre Dame is the latest school to extend a scholarship offer to him.

The Notre Dame staff already has two commitments for the 2007 recruiting class in Kerry Neal and Aaron Nagel. Not only are both prospects outstanding athletes, but they are also football players that make big plays. A similar prospect the Irish staff would like to add to the recruiting class is John Jones (6-4 212-pounds).

"Last week," Booker head coach Fred Gilmore replied when asked when the Notre Dame offered arrived for Jones. "Bernie Parmalee showed interest in him (last fall), we showed him his junior film and they're excited about him. They always stop in because we always sign guys.

"He's getting offers left and right. Everyday someone's calling. It's norm for the course around here. Every year we have someone getting that type of attention. Last year we had one of the top receivers in the country, Sam Shields (Miami signee and second-team USA Today All-American) and John popped out on tape.

"He's going to focus on his spring game," coach Gilmore explained. "Everyone will be down during the spring, including Notre Dame, and that's how the process works."

By the time college recruiters are allowed to visit schools they are going to have to take a number in order to watch Jones.

"He's very unique," coach Gilmore said of his standout athlete. "He's a rare combination of being a defensive end and a wide receiver. He played opposite a receiver that had over 1,200 yards receiving 22 touchdowns and he still managed to have over 30 catches and six touchdown catches (470 yards).

"He plays both ways, and it's rare for us to have that. Defensively he had 23 sacks. He's an athlete. No one knows if he's going to be a receiver, defensive end, or a linebacker. No matter what position he's placed at he looks athletic – Notre Dame says that too.

"The thing about him is that he makes plays – he's a playmaker," coach Gilmore continued. "He's an impact player. He finds a way to get near the ball and make plays. He recovers fumbles, sacks… he's just always around the ball. He just makes big plays."

While college coaches are trying to determine where they would play Jones, his head coach knows which side of the ball he'd put him on at the next level.

"I'm biased, besides being the head coach, I'm the defensive coordinator," coach Gilmore said. "I wouldn't want him over there, but I see some things offensively. I think that's going to be up to John. I think he's versatile.

"I think he has the play making attitude and the playmaking ability. Offensively he wants the ball down the stretch and then defensively he wants to be the guy that makes the play that turns the tide of the game. He's a guy that you game plan for and then they game plan against. They need to know where he is."

Like all great players, Jones agrees with his head coach.

"Defense," Jones replied when asked where he would like to play in college. "I want to play safety."

In addition to the Notre Dame offer, Jones has offers from Louisville, Pitt, Auburn, and Ole Miss. As the recruiting year progresses John will continue to add offers, but as of now the Notre Dame offer has caught his eye.

"It's strong, I like them," Jones responded when asked the level of interest he had in Notre Dame. "I talked to the head coach, coach Weis. He sounds like a good coach. I saw what he did with the Patriots, so he's a good coach. He was telling me he wasn't sure where he'd put me at and that I'm an athlete.

"Notre Dame, Florida, LSU, Miami, Georgia, and Auburn," Jones said when asked to list the schools he had the most interest in attending at this time. "I'm just letting it come to me right now." Top Stories