The recruiting cycle seemingly starts sooner with each football season. The more the calendar flips, the earlier the scholarship offers go out.
As a result, commitment classes fill up far sooner than they ever have. Sheriron Jones declared his intentions to play at Tennessee the second week of January, but the Scout four-star quarterback prospect figures to be one of the final takes for the Big Orange.
The Rancho Verde (Calif.) High School signal-caller has zero issues with his decision and an official visit over the weekend did nothing but cement his orange-clad future.
“I was already confident,” Jones said. “Tennessee is the right place to be. This is where I need to be. Confident-booster because I came back out here to see (Tennessee) coach (Butch) Jones and everybody. Everybody welcomed me and my family. It’s a pretty good place to see.
“Coach Jones’ message was the Jones Boys are gonna do it because we have the same last name. The message was we’re family. ‘We’re going to take care of you and you’re in the right place.’
“If it was up to me I would have signed this weekend, but you can’t do that. I’ve got to wait till February. Just overall tremendous weekend.
“When I made this commitment, I told myself that Tennessee finished second, but I want them to be first in my heart. They’re first in my heart now.”
It was Sheriron Jones’ first trip to Rocky Top since the summer
“I got to see a lot of the stuff that I didn’t get to see back in the summer, so everything was just better than it was,” Jones told InsideTennessee.
“I just wanted to make sure that I got to see everything that I didn’t see in the summer and basically just being around the coaches and being around the players a little bit more. I actually got down and have to talk to them and everything and not wind up leaving 5 hours after you just got here. That’s what happened to me in the summer time. Being here 48 hours, it was big for me because I got to sit down and really do the things that I really needed to do in order to feel the place. Being committed, I feel relieved now.”
“Tennessee actually cares about their players. When they say it’s a family thing, it’s actually a family thing. Everyone gets along with one another. Everyone takes care of one another. It’s all about the team; it’s not about individuals.”
Jones brought both of his parents and said “fell in love with it just like I did.”
The trio flew from Knoxville to Charlotte to Los Angeles to get back home. The distance to Tennessee’s campus is not a factor for the quarterback or his parents.
“Not anymore. At first it kind of was. They came down and they kind of got to see the place and everything. I guess they fell in love with it, too,” he said.
Jones, who ranks as as the No. 273-rated player and No. 18 quarterback in the nation, will join mid-year enrollees Quinten Dormady and Jauan Jennings as freshmen quarterbacks on Tennessee’s roster for 2015. The three right-handers did not spend time together over the weekend.
“I didn’t see Jauan,” said Jones, who was hosted by junior wide receiver Johnathon Johnson. “I saw Quinten, but we didn’t talk about football. It was just like, ‘Hey, how have you been?’ But we didn’t really talk at all in the first place. Maybe when I come back — I’ll probably come for the spring game — we’ll probably talk then or something like that. I got to sit down and talk to (Joshua) Dobbs and how’s everything been since he came along. ‘How’s it going? basically.’”
All three will be in competition to be the back-up to Dobbs and any of them could be a snap away from taking control of the Tennessee offense.
“I mean I have thoughts about it,” Jones said. “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. I don’t want to rush into anything that I’m not prepared for. I want to make sure that I go out there and meet everyone’s expectations of me. It’s going to be a lot of competition.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder mentioned his visit that concluded Sunday included a different sort of sleeping arrangement, per his request.
“Everybody was laughing at me,” Jones said, “because we were going back to the hotel and I actually stayed and I wanted to sleep on the practice field inside the complex. So, everybody was laughing at me. It was pretty dope though. For reason, I love my fields that I play on and practice on.”
Another aspect of Big Orange Country that the four-star finds exciting is the switch to NIKE that takes place July 1.
“Getting ready to transfer over to NIKE, so they were telling me about some of the stuff that should be happening. I’m pretty excited for it.”
Jones added that he’s in a wait-and-see mode with the number he will don at Tennessee. He hopes to get into coordinator Mike Bajakian’s playbook as soon as possible.