Irish Are One Of The Many Eyeing Jones

Malcolm Jones had a lot of voices in his ear, just telling him to relax, you're going to do just fine.

One of those voices belonged to Oaks Christian's senior quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

"He was always telling me to calm down, and making sure I knew what I was doing," Malcolm Jones said. "He always gave me a lot of support, saying you can do this."

Jones wasn't sure.

A freshman running back at the time, the class-of-2010 prospect had big shoes to fill in perhaps the state of California's best player, Marc Tyler. The five-star Tyler went down with an injury in Oaks Christian's first playoff game, thrusting Jones into the spotlight.

"I couldn't believe it was happening as a freshman, me playing on varsity on one of the best teams in the nation," Jones said. The Lions had eight players sign Division I letters-of-intent that year, including Jones' older brother Marshall, who inked with Tyler to USC. "A lot of things were going through my mind like not messing up."

Jones didn't mess up, making plays on both sides of the ball in helping Clausen and company win the Division III Championship. Named the California State Freshman of the Year, Jones finished the 2006 season with 274 yards rushing and five touchdowns. On defense, he had 51 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception. Jones had 15 tackles, a sack and a pick in the state championship win over Cardinal Newman.

Last season, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Jones continued to do everything but mess up. He ran for 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Stanford has already offered a verbal scholarship, and several other programs are showing interest, including USC, Florida, Georgia, Oregon and Notre Dame.

Head coach Charlie Weis might want to have Clausen get in Jones' ear again.

"I'd be interested in Notre Dame, I heard Notre Dame is a pretty good academic school also," Jones said. He has a 3.8 GPA and wants to major in business finance. "A lot of people do good things out of Notre Dame, and their football team is on the rise, I have a feeling."

Jones was surprised to see Clausen take his lumps last season, after watching him do pretty much anything he wanted to on a football field for four years as a prep star.

"When I first heard he was going to go to Notre Dame, I thought he was going to do pretty good," Jones said. "Then when I heard his line wasn't good and he was getting sacked all the time, it was surprising to see him struggle."

It's very early in the recruiting process for Jones, and he has yet to put too much thought into it yet. He does favor the Pac 10 and SEC conferences, and sees himself staying really close to home or going very far away for school.

"Marshall told me to make sure I take all five of my official visits before I make my decision," Jones said, later adding it'd be weird to play against his brother on the next level. "I'm going to take this slow until I find the right fit for me.

"The place I'm going to go to, has got to have a good coaching staff and good academics, academics are real important to me.

"Right now, I'm just taking everything in. I'm not favoring any school or nothing, it's open to every school."

So far, USC and UCLA are the only two campuses Jones has gotten a chance to look at. He'll be at the Trojans-Ohio State game this fall on an unofficial visit. Jones has talked to his mother about taking some visits in the spring.

As of right now, Jones has only had contact with a few college coaches.

"They like how I play as a running back, how I have a lot of size and speed and quickness," Jones reiterated.

Come September 1st, when the NCAA allows college recruiters to start contacting high school juniors, Jones will have a lot of people in his ear again. Top Stories