ANDREW JONES, TE, 6'6, 237, 4.7, SMITHSVILLE, MISSOURI:
A great tight end can transform an offense into something special and can be the best security blanket on the field for the quarterback. And when you have a talent like Andrew Jones, all of a sudden the tight end can become a tremendous weapon for an offense.
Jones is one of the very best receiving tight ends in the country and now that he is grown into his 6-foot-6 frame he has become an outstanding blocker as well. Jones loves delivering a blow as well as catching a pass, and at this point he is equally skilled at both. His talents have made him the top tight end in the country according to many, and that is something he will work to live up to.
"It makes me feel good because I don't know all the other tight ends out there," said Jones. "There are a lot of great players across America, I do know that. So when people rank me like that or say good things about me, it makes me feel like I am in an elite category. It also makes me feel like whatever I am doing is apparently working. If I saw a tape of myself I would say, 'Gosh, I am doing that wrong and this wrong.' But it seems like a lot of other people love what I am doing. I guess what I am doing is good enough."
Jones broke into the starting line-up as a freshman and since then has been the talk of Missouri. A year ago, he became the talk of the nation after he caught 50 passes for 612 and six touchdowns. Jones is not a bad defensive end either finishing the season with 45 tackles, eight sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered. As a sophomore, Jones caught 40 passes and five touchdowns. Jones has a 275 bench and squats 390.
"I really wasn't ready to play when I was a freshman," said Jones. "We had a kid get suspended and I just got into a lucky situation. I ended up with 25 catches that year, but I got knocked around a lot at the line of scrimmage. I was about 6-4 and 190 pounds. Growing up, I was the tallest and fattest kid in school. I was fat when I was younger, but when I got into my freshman year I got tall and skinny. My freshman year I had no business being on a varsity field. We play in a tough conference and I got knocked around a lot. It was worth it and now I don't get knocked around and I try to do the knocking."
Andrew has become an excellent pass receiver and he has learned how to use his size to his advantage.
"I would say my ball skills and just knowing how to use my body are my biggest advantages as a receiver," said Jones. "I can shield defenders and I can use my size, just like when I go up to get a rebound in basketball. I just keep some part of body out and keep the defender off off me, and then make the catch however I have to do it. I practice with the line one day and then practice with the wide receivers the next.
"On some weeks I go first practice with the O-line and then the second practice with the receivers. I practice with the receivers and do all the same stuff that the receivers do. Playing tight end I have to get good at everything, so I work at everything. We have a good coaching staff and they are always helping me out and making me a better player."
Jones is also an outstanding basketball player scoring over 1,000 points in his career. He averages 17 points and 12 rebounds per game and is getting some offers from small colleges in basketball. But he has no interest in playing basketball at the next level. Jones also plays first base in baseball and he is also the closer out of the bullpen. If Jones chose to, he would be getting some serious attention from college and pro baseball. But football is his love and what he will take his shot at the next level at.
Jones has been offered by Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Clemson, Purdue, Vanderbilt and Colorado. At this time, he says he has narrowed his schools down to three.
"I would say my top three would be, in no particular order, Oklahoma, Missouri and Nebraska," said Jones. "I went down to Oklahoma for camp last summer and I liked working with Coach (Kevin) Wilson. I thought he was pretty cool. I have talked to him a lot and I have a good relationship with him. The campus and the stadium are nuts. The tradition at Oklahoma is nuts. I mean, Oklahoma has so many players in the NFL and it is a great place."
Jones says he likes how OU utilizes the tight end.
"Coach Wilson, since he has been an O-coordinator at all kinds of different places has changed his offense to whatever personnel that he has on the team," said Jones. "Last year they were playing with a wide receiver at quarterback and they had to do what was best for him. So whoever they have in at quarterback now will be talented and the sky is the limit. Sam Bradford and those guys are very talented."
Jones has also taken unofficial visits to Nebraska and Missouri.
"Missouri is right down the road about two hours, and I like what they do with their tight ends," said Jones. "(Martin) Rucker and (Chase) Coffman are real good. Both catch the ball all the time. I just like going to their games. I would like to go to a school that uses my strengths as a tight end. I am not your extra tackle type of tight end. I am more of a receiving threat. Nebraska has real good tradition up there too, and they have the highest academic prestige up there. They also send a lot of players to the NFL, but I don't really know yet."
So what is important in recruiting for Jones?
"I am definitely looking for a school where I can win a championship," said Jones. "I don't' want to redshirt because I want to play right away. I also want to be able to get ready for the NFL. I need a strong quarterback and need a good relationship with him. If Sam Bradford or Keith Nichol throw for 3,000 yards this year, that would be great and they would be the type of quarterback that I am looking to play for.
"I just want to be used to my strength and ability. I think using my strengths catching the ball will help the team win games. I am a good possession guy and I can get first downs and stuff. I want to be able to use that to my advantage and to the advantage of the team. I don't care if I am flexed out or if I am in a 3-point stance, it doesn't really matter to me."
Jones plans to attend the Scout combine in Kansas City. He is also visiting Notre Dame with his coaches this weekend for Fighting Irish Junior Day. He then plans to visit Missouri and Nebraska again, and following that he plans to attend either a spring practice at Oklahoma or the spring game. Jones also admits that he wants to go school that is somewhat close to home. He doesn't know when he will commit, but he says he will do it when he is good and ready and it could be soon, or maybe it could be during the season.
Jones has qualified.
Recruiting: OU in the mix for top TE
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