GA WR Tai-ler Jones commits to Card

Four-star wide receiver Tai-ler Jones (Gainesville HS, Gainesville, GA) is one of the most heavily recruited wide receivers in the country. Sporting offers from football powers from coast to coast, Jones narrowed his list several months ago from 31 offers to a top seven. Today, Jones made his college decision -- and it may surprise some people.

Tai-ler Jones chose Stanford over six other finalists – Ohio State, Georgia, Notre Dame, North Carolina, UCLA, and Cal. He made the college decision just weeks after a memorable trip to Palo Alto for the Stanford's second Junior Day.

"The trip was great - it exceeded all of my expectations," Jones said. "I met a couple teachers and sat in on a couple of classes. I spent a lot of time with the receivers coach [David] Shaw and my recruiting coach [Willie] Taggart, in addition to head coach [Jim] Harbaugh. After that, I spent a lot of time with players, getting to know them and really seeing life in their eyes. Also, I saw what the campus life is like when it's not football season."

Jones, Scout.com's 14th ranked wide receiver in the class of 2010, also had the opportunity to watch a Stanford practice, where he met an unexpected visitor.

"Condoleezza Rice actually came up to me and said that she heard I had Notre Dame ties even though I've never actually seen or talked to her," Jones said. "Then, she went into the skybox for a good 20 minutes with me, my dad and my uncle. She told me what she thinks I could do at this school and how I could excel, as well as the steps I need to take so I can graduate early to better prepare myself."

On the weekend Jones flew to California for Stanford's Junior Day, he had originally planned to visit two of his other top schools – California and UCLA. Instead, Jones ended up spending his entire West Coast trip at Stanford.

"I knew more about the UCLA and Cal programs then I knew about Stanford," Jones said. "What I had heard about Stanford was more that they didn't have a strong football team, and they couldn't compare to UCLA and Cal. But after going there, seeing Stanford, seeing the coaches' plan and the athletes they signed in the 2009 class -- and who they could potentially get in my class -- their football is going to come up in the years when I'm there."

Jones, who plans to major in broadcast journalism, says that feeling comfortable on campus and the quality of the coaching staff were his two main reasons for choosing Stanford.

"The character of the coaches and the environment they build around their players is important to me," Jones said. "Also, there's the environment around the overall campus built by the students and the teachers. And then there's the weight the degree carries in the business world once I graduate. Then, I asked myself if I were a regular student and couldn't play football, would I still want to go that school?"

"The coaches are all very genuine," Jones added. "They all have NFL experience and they all definitely know what they're talking about. They know what they want and what they need to make the offense as productive as it can be, and they look at building a football player's character almost as much as they do developing him as an athlete."

When Jones does get on campus, the coaches should have quite the athlete to develop. Jones runs a 4.45 40-yard dash, benches 275 pounds and squats 405 – staggering numbers for a 6'0", 183 pound player.

"I'm a receiver that can make big plays with short passes like screens," Jones said. "I'm explosive. I can score from anywhere on the field and I bring a lot more power to my game than most people would think because of my size. A lot of people would compare me to a mix between Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez from Ohio State, because I can also be an inside receiver. I don't have the 4.3 speed, but I'm quick enough to make it happen."

Now that Jones has ended his recruitment, his focus will turn to gaining admission to the University.

"I have a 3.65 GPA and a 25 on my ACT," Jones said. "I might retake the ACT if I apply early and can't get in because that score is too low. I'm going to see if they can get me an application as soon as possible. Once they do, I'll fill that out and hopefully get the decision back so I can know whether to retake it or not."

The Bootleg's own Matt Squeri has called Jones the highest-profile recruit Stanford has signed since Trent Edwards, and so you can expect plenty more from this site on the recruit that may well define Stanford football's 2010 recruiting class. Stay tuned as Andy Drukarev checks in with Tai-ler Jones after his press conference, and Daniel Novinson discusses the importance of Stanford building a pipeline in a state squarely in the heart of SEC country – Georgia.


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