Ray Ray Is Rolling

Ray Jones gives a college recruiter some attractive options, as a Division I quality running back or defensive back. That dual threat ultimately proved too attractive for the Cardinal coaches to pass up, offering him last week. He talks with <i>The Bootleg</i> about Stanford, his top schools and what he has coming next.

One of the most exciting players we reported on this summer from Stanford's overnight camp was athlete Ray Jones, who excelled as a defensive back but can also put up big numbers at running back.  He racked up quite a few offers in the spring, including Michigan State, Maryland, Boston College and several others.  But after the evaluations and phone calls were done in May, things went quiet with his recruitment.

That is, until last week when Jones received word from his favorite school.  He had been talking with Stanford recently about the prospect of his scholarship offer, and his answer came at the beginning of the week.  "My coach was starting to get frustrated with the fact that they kept sort of delaying things," Jones explains.  "So last Friday he called and basically said 'What's the deal?'  Coach McCarty called back and said they were going to make a decision in their meeting on Monday. Coach McCarty calls my coach at 11:30 our time on Monday and tells him that they are offering me."

The offer from the Cardinal is his first since a very busy May period, but it was well worth the wait.  "Their main concern was position," Jones comments on Stanford's evaluation. "But the fact that they feel I can play at least two positions helped me out. They are offering me as an athlete.  I'm just happy that my favorite school has now offered me, and I just want to get on the field wherever I can play."

Jones names a top four headed up by Stanford, and rounded out with Maryland, Boston College and Duke.  All have now offered, and he just took an unofficial trip to Boston this past weekend.  He was planning on hitting Maryland's campus while out East, but scheduling logistics fell apart.  Regardless, he is focused on wrapping up business with his leader.  Those final steps with Stanford are centered around his admissions application, which he has just completed and submitted.  Jones carries a strong 1210 SAT and 3.6 GPA.  Could that application be his final act in this college recruitment?

"Hopefully it is," he answers.  "I really like the coaches at Stanford a lot.  I only had the chance to work with [running backs] Coach [Wayne] Moses for a short bit, but I like him.  The other players and recruits are a big factor.  They all have their heads screwed on straight, as opposed to guys I've seen some other places I've visited.  I can tell they'll be students like me, coming from similar backgrounds.  And of course the campus and academics are great.  But it was the people that really sold me."

While most all of the offer schools have recruited Jones as a running back, he is being offered by the Cardinal as an athlete.  That designation means that they might use him for offense or defense, though the early betting money would be at defense.  Jones has played the last three years at The Columbus Academy at cornerback and tailback, but his defensive position is changing this senior season.  For the first time in his high school career, he will line up as a SAM linebacker to help his team's front eight in a new 4-4 alignment.

"I've put on some weight and the coaches hope my speed will help at linebacker," Jones explains.  "It's a lot of fun.  It's so different.  At cornerback you're playing alone out in space, which I didn't really enjoy that much.  But I like playing closer to the ball and attacking.  That's why I think I could enjoy safety in college, honestly.  This work this year at linebacker could help me transition to safety if that is where Stanford wants me."

Jones currently weighs 207 pounds and has a great frame that can handle more, though he says Stanford has even an outside thought that he has the speed to play cornerback.

The Columbus Academy will open up their season tomorrow at home against Linden McKinley. They were 11-2 last year and have some talented seniors to replace, but they will once again gun for an Ohio state title.  Ray Jones will lead the way on offense and defense this year, hopefully with his college recruitment a distant memory by the time league play hits in mid-September.

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