Early to End?

The 2015 recruiting cycle is in its infancy stage, but three-star wide receiver Dontea Jones might not be long in the process.


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Jones, of Louisville, Miss., already boasts an impressive offer sheet, including Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. But the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Jones has long been considered an in-state lean, and if he has it his way, he'll make a decision relatively soon.

Jones will visit Ole Miss this weekend.

"I'm pretty much thinking about (committing) early," he said. "I feel like if I go in early, I really get to focus on my academics instead of being stressed out about what school I want to go to and where I want to sign and schools coming to the school and me getting phone calls. I'm really thinking about going in on the early side."

Ole Miss was the first school to offer Jones, who is ranked the No. 48 wide receiver in the country by Scout.com. Despite missing three games as a junior, Jones totaled 45 catches, 714 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.

"All of it really came in pretty quick," Jones said. "I got my first offer my spring game coming into my junior year. I got an offer from Ole Miss. That really put me out there. After that, all the other schools started coming in.

"To get that first offer, especially from a school like that, it was really a dream come true. Kids always dream about it. When I finally got that offer, I was like ‘Wow. I finally did it.' I knew for a fact I could get some more, so I just tried my best."


Dontea Jones
File Photo

His best resulted in a perfect 16-0 record for Louisville High School and a state championship.

"Junior year went great," he said. "I wish I would have played those three games I had got hurt, but my goal was really to beat my stats from last year and I did that. We had a pretty great year – 16-0, state champions. Doesn't get any better than that."

As far as his recruitment goes, Jones said he's focusing mostly on those schools that emphasize academics. Ole Miss and Mississippi State stick out, he said, and if he had to name an out-of-state school, Florida would be the choice.

"Academic-wise, school, I'm going to have to start putting that first and football second," Jones said. "I'm going to have to look at schools that are looking out for me as far as academics, than just me going out there and playing football and helping their team out."

Mississippi State is one of those schools. Jones visited Starkville recently for junior day. He left impressed.

"It went great. Got a chance to talk to all the coaches. Got a chance to talk to Dan Mullen and Coach (Billy) Gonzales, the receivers coach. He's a pretty great guy, man, and I got a chance to go up to the Mississippi State – Kentucky game. It was a pretty great process, going up there and being able to see the campus. I got to see the Hall of Fame center. I've got a whole lot of coaches who went to Mississippi State and actually played up there. It was pretty great.

"State, that's one of the schools that really focuses on your academics. They really put football second. Classroom and family, that's the first thing (Mullen) talked about when he first got everybody in a group. That's a team everybody's really sleeping on. They're going to be pretty good in the future, too."

Ole Miss capped an 8-5 season with a 25-17 win over Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl in December. Jones sees Ole Miss as a program headed in the right direction.

"They're real hot right now, man," he said. "I look at them to be one of the real big teams in the future. They've got a lot of young players. They're losing a couple of players, but they're really gaining some more."

Jones has gotten to know Ole Miss now-sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell made an immediate impact as a freshman at Ole Miss, finishing as SEC Freshman of the Year after leading Ole Miss in receptions.

"My first time ever talking to Laquon was when I went to Ole Miss' elite camp last summer," Jones said. "It was pretty cool talking to him, man, and to be knowing he was one of the No. 1 players in the nation, especially at a position like that. It was real cool."

Treadwell shattered Ole Miss freshman records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches in a season. He led all SEC freshmen in catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions, while ranking fourth among freshmen nationally in receptions per game.

But while Treadwell stepped in and made his mark in his first year on campus, Jones said he's not too concerned with playing right away.

"If I could come in and play as a freshman, that would be awesome," Jones said. "But then again, learning the process and me getting bigger and stronger and actually learning more things when I get to college, that'd be good."


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