Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex powerhouse Euless Trinity has produced many Division I prospects over the years, and one of the latest recruits Texas Tech has targeted is safety Cameron Jones.
Jones, who was offered right after the Texas Tech satellite camp at Trinity back in June, is the third-ranked safety in the state and ranked No. 268 in the class of 2018 Scout300.
Jones and teammate John Davis, a 2017 cornerback who was offered at the same time as Jones, also made the trek up to Lubbock for an unofficial visit this week. Jaylon Robinson, a 2018 athlete out of Fort Worth Paschal who also holds an offer, visited as well.
Jones' initial thoughts after the visit?
"I'm speechless, man. It was great. I had fun, I'm not just talking, I really had fun."
The 6-foot-1, 193-pound defender went into detail on what he experienced during the visit.
"I got to visit the campus with a tour guide and coach Scott and JD. We were all in one car, we got to see the pool, the lazy river, the campus. We got to meet educators. We got to meet freshmen. We saw the stadium, apartments, the apartments were real nice. I got to talk to the head coach and also talk to Gibbs, see some players. Then we also got to see them hit the weight room, then we had things broken down to us. It was real nice."
The campus was particularly impressive to Jones.
"Every building looked like it was just brand-new. Usually when I go somewhere, there are always three or four buildings that just look raggedy. Everything was like it was just a brand new school or something. It was a big campus. It was nice seeing people just hanging around, talking, jogging."
Tech's state-of-the-art Rec center stood out as well.
"It was pretty cool. They had a lazy river, a lap pool. Inside of it, they had a basketball court, rock-climbing, everything was pretty nice. When you have some free time, you can go there and chill."
In addition, the visitors got to meet some current players.
"We did get to meet some players. [Jah'Shawn Johnson], we got to meet him. Mahomes, we saw him working out. A couple DBs, some linemen, the defensive lineman who just transferred in from Michigan [Ondre Pipkins]. Mahomes was bigger than I thought, I thought he was some skinny dude but he had some meat on his bones, he looked like a linebacker."
The coaching staff made a serious impression on Jones.
"They were pretty cool guys, I really love them. They're also straightforward. They're not going to beat around the bush with you. No playing with you or lying to you to get you to commit. That would be something I'd be angry about if they lied to me. They didn't, they were straightforward."
One thing the coaching staff did that the defender liked was being frank about the team's needs at defensive back and how they were addressing them in the different recruiting classes.
"I've been to a lot of camps and I've talked to a lot of coaches, and no coach ever told me how many DBs they were going to bring in the same class as me. They're going to bring in all six DBs [in 2017] which is okay with me, because the way they play the DBs where they rotate them in a lot - if I work hard and put my mind to it, I can get some playing time freshman year. I probably won't start, but they rotate a lot because that's what you've got to do in the Big 12 - everybody wants to pass the ball in the Big 12. That's what I like about Texas Tech - I'm going to play defensive back, why not go to a conference that passes the ball?"
Jones talked specifics about how many DB spots there will be in 2017 and 2018.
"In 2017 he's trying to bring in six, but that class may affect our class if not all of them sign. Hopefully all of them do sign and they'll just take four our class, but it is what it is."
Another thing Jones likes about Texas Tech was how his role on the team would be similar to his role at Euless Trinity, so there would be less of a learning curve.
"While I was there watching film with coach Gibbs and coach Scott, we were sitting there talking about schemes and how I fit in. It's not too much different than how I fit into my high school team. The level of play is a big change, of course, but what I'm doing is not a big change from what I'm used to. That was a bonus, I liked it."
So, what position would Jones presumably be playing at Tech?
"He told me safety, of course, and then playing the nickel a lot where sometimes you play like a linebacker, which is great for me. I can cover, don't get me wrong, but the biggest thing about me is that I'll come down and hit you. I just love tackling, which is that nickel spot. That's home to me. And then also getting to play free safety, making plays on the ball coverage-wise, that's awesome to me."
Jones had some reps at corner at the Dallas satellite camp, and did well. The coaches think he may be able to spend some time at corner at Texas Tech too.
"The way they do it is that you're going to play some corner, too, because of how we rotate in a lot or if somebody gets hurt, you're going to play some corner. But that's not always bad if you can play both, which I can. At Trinity, I can play anything, I'm a DB. It looks good because my coach is coach Gibbs, and I've got some safety film, some nickel film, and some corner film. It's all right there, which coach Gibbs explained to us."
The prospect believes that defensive coordinator David Gibbs is there for the long haul, and wants to bring in his recruits to make the defense truly his own.
"Coach Gibbs, this is his second year. Some of the guys on the team right now aren't his guys. He was talking about bringing his guys in. If some of those guys don't come to Tech, he may take five guys my class. It means you've got to compete, but, if you get to know me, I love to compete, so that's no problem to me. It also means there's more talent on the team, and at the end of the day we are a team."
Karl Scott, the cornerbacks coach, is Jones' and Davis's primary recruiter. Jones talked about his relationship with the coach.
"Coach Scott is the coach who offered me. He was the man who gave me an opportunity to play at Tech, which automatically makes me respect and like him. But then he's a really good, cool guy. Like I said before in the last interview, when it's time to get down to it on the field, he's all business. He's not going to play with you. But when we're out chilling, I don't want to just talk football. I want to be able to have a conversation with my coach, because that's going to be my father figure all four years that I'm there. I don't want to talk about football every second of the day. I love football, but I want to be able to have a conversation with you and I can do that with coach Scott. We talked about the hip-hop music I like, the hip-hop music he likes, his family, he's just a real chill guy and I like that."
John Davis is Tech's top remaining target at cornerback in the class of 2017. While he hasn't tweeted anything out about the visit yet, Jones says Davis had a great time while on the visit.
"We talked, of course, and he was amazed. John Davis is not a talker like I'm a talker. JD's more non-chalant, more low-key. He barely even wanted to take pictures today, he's too cool, you know? [Laughs.] But he had a great time, we talked about it. He was like, 'Bro. This definitely just made my top two.' He's still got Utah to visit, and Utah's going to be nice. We'll see how that goes. This is just the opportunity of a lifetime for us to play together at the next level [at Texas Tech]. He'll make the right decision for him, and I'll make the right decision for me. I felt like I was at home, and he felt like he did too. I would love to play three more years with him."
Jones also spoke about Jaylon Robinson.
"I've known Robinson since I've competed against him in track since middle school. He's a great player, very talented and everything, and he's a class of 2018 guy too. He's been on a lot of visits already and he said that's the best visit he's been on since the eighth grade. I'm just building a relationship with him, we exchanged numbers and social media information and said we'd stay in touch. He liked the visit a lot."
Jones's personality contrasts a little bit from Davis's, as the junior seemingly embraces the bell cow role for the class of 2018.
"I gained a lot of Texas Tech followers and I'm going to let them know that I had a great time. If I end up committing to Texas Tech, I'm the type of guy that will try to bring in some talent that I know here in the DFW. I'm going to try to get some other 2018 guys to commit here if I commit here - that's wherever I go."
Last time Jones interviewed with RP, he mentioned wanting to be committed to a school by the time the season rolls around. Does that still hold true?
"It does. I've had four colleges try to get me out on last-second camps but it's time for me to wind down and start focusing on Euless Trinity football. It's time for me to get ready for this upcoming season for my team because I'm a captain of the defense. The coaches who trust me have already offered me, and that's what I want to roll with. If you don't believe in my talent and you have to see another year, then I don't think I'm your main priority anyways. The coaches that are rolling with me right now are the ones that I'm probably going to stick with. I'm okay with that, because I have Tech and I loved it."
Does Jones have a specific date or timeline in mind for making a commitment?
"Kind of, but I've got to get together with my parents. My mom, she liked it. My dad was shot a couple years ago and is paralyzed so I probably can't get him out to Tech, but I'm going to get him on the phone with coach. Coach Scott will talk to him and we'll sit down together as a family and then I'll let everybody know about a Top 3 or a commitment date or whatever."
Cameron Jones holds offers from Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, UTSA, and Texas Tech. He reports interest from Baylor, TCU, Texas, and Texas A&M, among others.
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