"The recruiting process is been going great for me right now," Tony Jones said. "It's really starting to pick up for me. I'm starting to get more offers as time progresses. Stanford, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Vanderbilt, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Akron, Toledo, Northwestern and Wisconsin have all offered."
Jones denies any leaders, but says he hopes to decide on a top-five in the next few weeks as he works towards making a decision after his senior season ends.
"At first, I wanted to make my decision before my football season, but I'm also not trying to rush it," Jones said. "Now I'm leaning towards deciding after my senior season, so that'd be some time after October, while still allowing myself time to take some official visits as well."
With his current plans to visit every school that has offered him, Jones might take longer than expected than that to end his recruitment.
"So far I've been to Michigan State, Toledo, and Central Michigan," Jones said. "I'll be out to Stanford in June for their Quarterback and Wide Receivers Academy and then I want to make my way to Wake Forest and Vanderbilt soon. I really plan on visiting just about everyone that has offered me."
And after Jones has finished racking up thousands of frequent flier miles traveling from coast to coast, he plans to choose the school that puts him on the best track to succeed in life after football.
"Aside from the football program, the academic standpoint as far as what I can do once football is all over is important to me in a college," Jones said. "Once my football career is over, where will that school's degree put me in life? After I graduate from college, I need to have a degree from somewhere that I can actually make something happen with my life. Also, I'm looking at if the school has my major. I really want to major in law, because I hope to be a sports agent one day.
"Also the quality of the coaching staff, coaching stability and the relationships with the coaches are important to me."
With Jones' emphasis on forming a strong bond with a coaching staff in mind, the Stanford coaches have worked hard to foster a solid relationship with the three-star receiver. Just last Tuesday, offensive coordinator David Shaw paid Jones a visit at his high school.
"I've spoken with Coach Shaw and Coach Harbaugh," Jones said. "I speak with Coach Shaw maybe once every other week, often through email, whenever I come up with any questions. He's very good at returning my emails.
"The Stanford coaches seem to be great guys. Just from meeting Coach Shaw on Tuesday face-to-face, he seemed like he'd be a pretty good coach and someone that I'd possibly play under."
For now, Stanford is recruiting Jones strictly as a wide receiver.
"I'm a wide receiver that can play either the slot or the outside receiver - I've done both in high school," Jones said. "I can catch the screen and make plays happen or I can be that true route runner. I'm a pretty versatile receiver as far as the things that I can do on the field -- running routes or coming around for a reverse or catching quick screens."
But despite an impressive junior season in which he hauled in 69 passes for 1058 yards and seven touchdowns, Jones still sees plenty of room for improvement in his game.
"Right now I'm just working on basically polishing my game as far as detail," Jones said. "I'm working on precise route running and just really getting that extra separation from the defensive back. I realize now that I'm going to be playing in college, I have to take my game to the next level and I need to prepare myself for a good college career.
"I run about a 4.45 forty now. I can bench about 235 and I squat about 350, but those numbers are [improving]. My goal is to get that down to 4.3. Even if it's like a 4.38, I want to be able to say I ran a 4.3."
With the goal of qualifying academically at all the schools on his college list, Jones is working hard to improve his GPA and standardized test scores.
"My cumulative GPA is about a 3.7," Jones said. "I'm still working hard to get that up – last quarter I got a 3.92 GPA. My ACT score is a 24 right now, but I'm never satisfied and I will take the ACT probably two more times and my goal is to get close to about a 30. I think I can get that up to a 28 or 29."
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