Texas Tech got added to the 2018 class in a big way when Scout300 prospect Cameron Jones, ranked as the No.3 safety in the Texas, announced his commitment on Saturday night.
The 6-foot-1, 193-pound four-star led Euless Trinity's defense in turnovers the past two seasons and is a team captain this fall for the Trojans.
What was it that led up to his commitment to Texas Tech?
"A lot of thinking, of course. What really led up to it was just the atmosphere. I had been everywhere, and I picked up the offers that I picked up, and the ones I didn't. Texas Tech was the one that just really felt like home. I'm ready to be a part of the family. That's where I want to be at, there's no other school I would rather be at. I've been to all the other schools, you know, and it's just not Texas Tech in my eyes or my heart."
Building a relationship with the Texas Tech coaches was another factor in his commitment.
"Me and coach Scott, coach Gibbs, coach K, we all bonded, and I feel like that's where I should be for the next four years after high school. That's where I want to play ball and get my degree at. If I don't make it pro or if I do, I'm going to come back and show that school love, because that's where I want to be at."
Jones was asked about the role his relationship with defensive backs coach Carl Scott, his primary recruiter, played in his recruitment.
"It's huge, it's a major part of the commitment I'm making. He's basically going to be a second father figure for the four years after high school, he's going to be my DB coach and a person I spend a lot of time with. Right off the bat, we bonded, you know? He kept it straight up with me. He told me that Texas Tech wouldn't be the place for me if we didn't bond, it wouldn't work out for me because I would have to see a lot of him. Our bond now is great, I can call him on the phone anytime I wanted to. We can just talk about anything, it doesn't always have to be about football. It can be about how my day's going, or about me getting excited about my future and asking him a couple questions or whatnot. It's a good bond and I really do like coach Scott."
Jones and Trinity teammate, fellow Red Raider commit John Davis visited together for Tech's 59-45 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
"The fanbase is just amazing--I haven't even gotten to see the full fanbase yet, just the fanbase on Twitter, and it's amazing."
Jones spoke more about what influenced his decision.
"A lot led up to this moment, talking to my parents, I went to church Wednesday and spoke with my student pastor about it. I feel like it's time, to just get it off my mind and go ahead and commit. I want to get ready for the upcoming football season and for after high school, because these next two years are going to go by quick."
The four-star safety talked about how his father, who was shot a couple years ago and is now paralyzed, did not influence his decision one way or the other and was simply proud of him.
"My dad, he's in my corner either way. He's just glad that I got this opportunity. Where he comes from and I come from, we're not even supposed to finish high school the side of town we lived on. Not only to move away from that part of town but to move to Euless and also have a chance to finish playing ball at Euless Trinity High School, and then attend a Division I college? It's just amazing in his eyes. He told me I was very blessed, and not to mess up the opportunity, to take advantage of it."
His mother, on the other hand, wanted to get to know coach Scott before Jones could make his commitment since she did not accompany him on the visit.
"My mom actually talked to coach Scott, she said they talked for about three hours. They laughed, they talked about what she wanted to know since she didn't go there. They got to bond, talk about me, talk about the commitment. More than anybody in the world, I know my mom is going to always be supportive of me no matter what I do. She's stoked about it. Wherever I go, my mom is going to be. If I go to Tyler Junior College, she's going to be a Tyler Junior College mom. She's always going to be in my corner."
With four stars next to his name and several Power Five schools showing interest, more offers will likely come in for Jones before National Signing Day 2018. Would he entertain those offers or is he shutting down his recruitment?
"I think I'm probably going to just shut it down. If they offer, it's fun, it's amazing and a dream, but it's stressful at the same time. That's why I'm just trying to get all this stuff out of the way. I've got a lot to focus on this upcoming year, my grades, football. If I get more offers, I will be thankful and welcome it as a blessing, but I'm probably not going to be taking any visits. If I get offered by other schools, I do, if I don't, I'm fine with it, because I'm committed to Texas Tech."
Jones was asked if the coaches have a specific position on defense in mind for him yet.
"No, just defensive back. No specific spot."
Texas Tech is a school known for its high-octane offensive attack, but deficiencies on defense. While Jones is just one prospect, what is his plan for contributing to Tech's turnaround on defense?
"People tell me that, I don't care. They tell me that Tech has a poor defense, but coach Gibbs, those are not the dudes he recruited. He's turning it around. Believe it or not, they had, what, twenty-five plus turnovers this last year? That's a start. Coach Gibbs has just been there for two years. Y'all are in for a whole new world because he's going to take this thing by storm. I've seen the dudes he's recruited for defense and I've talked to some dudes in my class. Kamren Curl, the 2017 commit, and the other cornerback commit, those are two dudes that are going to help us turn it around and hopefully we get John out there to help us turn it around along with some 2018 DBs. We're not known for defense at Texas Tech right now, but give it two to three years and we will be known for defense. We already have an amazing offense and we will then too, but give it two to three years and we will have an amazing defense at Texas Tech also."
As one of the first commitments in the class of 2018, Jones embraces the "bell cow" role and plans on recruiting his peers to Texas Tech.
"I've already gotten started on that. I've talked to a couple dudes who also got offers, I got a good response from a couple of them. You know Jaylon Robinson, the Paschal High School athlete? Me and him, we chatted one night, he loved it too because we all visited on the same day (during the summer). Even though he's not on defense, hopefully I can get him out there, he's another DFW player that I've known for a while. I'm one of those guys, I'm going to try to get everybody I can out to Tech. Even if it's a five-star recruit that has offers from Ohio State and everybody, I'm going to still try. Even if they play my position. whatever team I'm on I'm trying to make it a better team."
Jones committed to Texas Tech over offers from Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, and UTSA. The four-star defender reported interest from Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M, among others.