RICHETTI JONES, DE, 6'3 ½, 240, 4.6, DALLAS (LINCOLN HS), TEXAS:
There are a number of players who might be able to claim that they are the best player in Texas, but for my money I will take Richetti Jones and go to the house.
Jones has been a dominant force in the state of Texas for the past two seasons, and he goes into his senior season regarded as the top defensive end in Texas and by most accounts the top defensive player in Texas.
"I guess the publicity has been different for me recently, that is for sure," said Jones. "More people at school and around here know who I am and what I do. They know that I play football at Lincoln, and I guess they know that I am pretty good. Man, it was crazy the other day. I had a man, a grown man, as me for my autograph. At first I thought he thought I was somebody else, but he wanted my autograph and I was surprised. That was crazy."
Jones' success and added attention seems to go hand-in-hand with Lincoln's success as a team.
"What really put my name out there was our state run," said Jones. "We went to state my sophomore my year and lost in double overtime. That season and that game really put me on the map."
As a sophomore, Jones played in 16 games and finished with 75 tackles, 25 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. Last season Richetti finished last year with 73 tackles, 16 sacks and 25 tackles-for-loss working out of a 4-3 defensive set and playing in 10 games.
"I could have had a million sacks or tackles for losses last year, but I swear I missed six or seven sacks," said Jones. "I came in and made the wrong angle or didn't tackle like I should. I will do better this year as I get better. There is always room for improvement no matter what level you are or where people rank you at. There is always room for improvement.
"I think I need to work on my escape more than anything. I have the speed, strength and everything I need talent-wise, but I need to work on my escape. I can beat my blocker despite the fact I get held on every play, but I need to get better at getting away from that block and then getting to the ball carrier."
Jones can bench 375 pounds, squats 550 and he has posted a 31-inch vertical jump. He throws the shot and discus in track, but says he doesn't really get a chance to work it real hard.
Jones has attended campus at TCU and Oklahoma State the past two years. He will graduate in December, so he will have to go to summer school, which will curtail his summer camp schedule. He is not sure he will make it to any camps or junior days this summer.
He has been offered by Texas, OU, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, Nebraska, Baylor, Ole Miss, Arkansas, LSU and Michigan State, but says he does not have a top five at this time.
"I don't have a top five," said Jones. "I am telling all the coaches that it is all up in the air. I am giving all the coaches a chance. I am just going to be watching everything before the season starts. Before the season starts I am going to narrow my choices down to a top five or top ten. I will watch them and try to make it to some of their games during the season."
Oklahoma has offered, so what are Jones' thoughts on the Sooners?
"I say I don't have a top five, but just know they will be there in my final five," said Jones. "Oklahoma has a winning tradition and they have played in two of the last three National Championship games. I know they have a good program."
What about the Texas Longhorns, who Jones is rumored to be leaning to?
"I don't know right now where I am leaning," said Jones. "I really don't know. Sure, Texas is in the picture. They are the National Champs. I didn't grow up a fan of Texas per say, but I grew up a fan of whoever was winning National Championships. Growing up, Miami was the best thing since sliced bread. Then Oklahoma had their time and now Texas is winning. It just varies, but when I was young I was wanting to go to all those schools. So now that I am finally in a position to go to a school I have found out that it is not as easy as I thought it was going to be."
What will be the particulars that Jones is looking for in recruiting?
"I am just looking at how a team plays and hangs out as a team," said Jones. "I want to make sure I like the environment. It just comes down to how I feel. The depth chart will be important, but it doesn't matter to me if I play early or not. I mean, everybody wants to play early but it really won't bother me if I redshirted my first year. You can always benefit from redshirting, but if you play your first year you can get experience from it.
"If you play you can get ahead of everybody who has redshirted or is just coming into college. If you redshirt you are able to get your mind right. You can get mentally and physically ready. You can lift weights and study what you need to study all season. There is an upside and downside to all of it. I will be ready to do what is best for the team and what my coaches want me to do."
Jones will take his SAT and ACT test this summer, but his grades are in good shape.
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