Jones Discusses His Interest in Ohio State

Tampa (Fla.) outside linebacker A.J. Jones is likely to pick Florida, or possibly Alabama. But he is still considering Ohio State and will make an official visit to OSU in early January. Jones visited Alabama this weekend. We caught up with him for the latest on his situation.

Tampa (Fla.) linebacker/safety A.J. Jones – a player who is considering Ohio State – made an official visit to Alabama this weekend.

"It went good," Jones said. "It was cold, but I liked it."

Jones is considering Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, USC and LSU. He had previously indicated that Florida was his favorite.

"Yeah, Florida and Alabama," Jones said.

Jones will visit Ohio State Jan. 6-8. It sounds like the Buckeyes are a longshot to win his services.

"Yeah, but they're in there though," Jones said. "I wouldn't be taking a visit to them if they wasn't."

Jones was asked what he's looking forward to about his OSU visit.

"Just to see how it is up there in a different part of the country," he said. "See how it is up in Columbus. I know it's going to be cold. I mean, Alabama was cold, so I know how it's going to be cold up there in Columbus.

"But I know they have some Florida players on their team. It's a good program and they have a good tradition."

Jones (6-2, 196, 4.55) is not in a hurry to make a decision. He has already visited OSU and will round out his visits at LSU (Jan. 13-15) and Florida (Jan. 20-22).

"I'll probably announce on signing day," he said.

Jones has one final high school football game to play before he begins his college career.

"I'm going out to California to play in the Florida-California all-star game," he said. "It's going to be played somewhere in the Southern California area because I know we're staying at a hotel in Anaheim."

Jones' high school team – Tampa Middleton – fell short of its goals this season.

"We didn't do too good," Jones said. "We were 8-3 and lost in the first round in the playoffs."

The multi-faceted Jones finished his senior year with 116 tackles and six sacks. Offensively, playing mainly wide receiver, he had 380 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

As a junior in 2004, Jones led the county with 170 tackles, and he was named second team all state by adding 16 sacks and six forced fumbles. He had 10 catches, 450 yards rushing and six touchdowns on offense.

Jones was asked if he believes he will definitely play outside linebacker in college.

"Everybody wants me to play outside linebacker," he said. "But they're also telling me I could play both outside linebacker and strong safety."

Any chance he plays both ways?

"N.C. State was telling me I could get on the field early because I could play both ways there," Jones said. "They said I could play receiver, or linebacker. But pretty much everyone else wants me for defense."

Jones knows he needs to add some weight to be a college linebacker.

"I've gained about four pounds recently and I'm up to 196," Jones said.

Jones was paid a visit by Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel recently.

"Coach Tressel came to my school last week and we had a long talk," Jones said. "We had about an hour and a half talk. It was cool. It was him and Coach Beck (cornerbacks coach Tim Beckman)."

Jones says OSU's coaches stay in close contact with him.

"We talk about every week," he said. "They call and e-mail."

Jones, who is also an outstanding baseball player, reports a 3.0 GPA and 18 ACT.

He is ranked as the nation's No. 14 outside linebacker prospect: Here is's evaluation of Jones:

"A terrific hitter and playmaker on the defensive side of the ball, Jones makes plays all over the field. He is an instinctive linebacker that has plenty of time to fill out and grow into the position for the next level."

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