Every time an elite national recruit commits to a school 10 months before National Signing Day, there are going to be rumors that the recruit is wavering on his decision. So it really should come as no shock to Cardinal fans to hear whispers that wide receiver Tai-ler Jones is rethinking his commitment. After all, Jones did have offers from more than 30 schools when he committed to Stanford back in April and several of those schools are still recruiting him pretty hard.
What may come as a pleasant surprise to Stanford fans, though, is the emphatic nature with which Jones refutes the rumors of him possibly softening his commitment.
"I'm still 110 percent committed to Stanford and as soon as I get my acceptance letter after turning in my application it will be as solid as it can be," Jones said. "The only thing that will be missing will be my signature in February."
The main source of ammunition for the pundits who think Jones will end up at a school other than Stanford is his decision to take visits to other schools.
Jones chalks up those plans to a desire to leave no stone unturned in the recruiting process.
"I just want to exhaust all measures and make sure I'm covering every aspect of this decision," he said.
And while Jones claims he is firm in his decision, the fact that Stanford has gotten off to its best start in nearly a decade doesn't hurt the school's chances of keeping him in the fold.
"They're definitely an underrated team," Jones said. "It's Andrew Luck's first year so they're definitely getting him into the offense, but I can definitely see that guy can pretty much do what he wants with the football. To have that quarterback my freshman, sophomore and maybe junior year is definitely a blessing."
One of the positive side effects of Stanford's improved play and the EUTM coaching style of Jim Harbaugh has been a noticeable increase in media coverage of the Cardinal program. Toby Gerhart has placed himself in the discussion for the Heisman trophy and Stanford is on the verge of breaking into the AP top 25 poll for the first time in years.
That type of press does not go unnoticed by recruits.
"This year they started talking about Stanford, next year we want them to be talking about them more and then the following years we want them to talk about Stanford even more," Jones said. "We want to build up to be one of those teams that's talked about every day."
Jones, on the other hand, has not been in the spotlight nearly as much since making his Stanford commitment. While schools like Alabama, Auburn, Oregon, and Notre Dame are still recruiting him, the phone calls and coaching visits have significantly decreased.
"It's definitely calmed down a lot," Jones said. "When coaches used to come to my school, every 10 minutes a different coach pulled me out of class. Now I don't have as many phone calls to make to different coaches and different recruits and I can focus more on building a strong relationship with one coaching staff. I know that I'm going to start on that relationship now and keep building on it once I enroll in that school."
Without the stress of the recruiting process hanging over his head, Jones has been able to shift most of his focus to what is shaping up to be a memorable senior football season.
Through six games, the Gainesville High School (Gainesville, Ga.) football team has been nothing less than dominant. Led by Jones, fellow Stanford commit Daunte Carr, and Alabama commit Blake Sims, the Red Elephants have outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 262-45 and find themselves undefeated at the season's midway point.
"Definitely our team chemistry is the main reason [for our early season success,]" Jones said. "Last year we were all juniors, and coming into this year, we only lost three starters on offense, so we definitely had a lot of chemistry from the year before. I think that really just brought us together and made us play stronger and more as a group this year."
And while he would never say it, Jones' play is also a major reason why Gainesville has been so dominant. In addition to serving as a shut down corner on defense Jones leads the team in points scored, receptions, and receiving yards.
"I feel that I've gotten more precise in my routes," Jones said when asked about the improvements in his game since last year. "I've gained weight and gotten faster than I was last year. I‘ve also become more of an all-around receiver this year."
Jones is also excelling in the classroom. He said that he currently has A's in all of his classes and that his lowest grade is either a 95 or 96.
The four-star recruit has also completed his Stanford application and is currently reviewing it carefully before submitting it shortly to the admissions office.
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