Butler Community College (KS) linebacker Tony Jones committed to Texas Tech shortly after his official visit to the South Plains last weekend.
The 6-foot-2.5, 222 pounder tallied 101 tackles, 9.5 stops for loss, 5.5 sacks four forced fumbles and two recoveries in 12 games for the Grizzlies this past season after registering 75 tackles, seven sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception as a freshman in 2015.
Jones, rated as a three-star commit by Scout, chose Texas Tech over offers from the likes of Baylor, Louisville and Memphis. He is a mid-term enrollee expected to sign with the Red Raiders on Wednesday, will be available for spring ball and will have three years to play two seasons.
The following is a Q&A from RaiderPower.com's interview with Jones about his decision:
Raider Power: First off, congratulations on the commitment.
Jones: I appreciate it. I was excited about it, you know, because I like Texas a lot.
Raider Power: Was that your first trip to Texas or had you been to Texas before?
Jones: That was actually my first trip to Texas.
Raider Power: Wow, West Texas. You said you liked it a lot. What did you like about it?
Jones: I liked everything. I liked the people, the players, the area. One thing I like a lot is the coaches. I got along with the coaches very well.
Raider Power: Yeah, that's one thing on these official visits is you really get to spend more time seeing everything, including the coaches. You mentioned the coaches, what did you like about them?
Jones: I just feel like I can trust them with anything, trust them to put me in the right positions to make plays and in general.
Raider Power: Speaking of position, I mean obviously you have played outside linebacker for Butler, and you have starred there for two years. Is that how they see you playing is outside linebacker or rush linebacker or where do they see you, Tony?
Jones: Yeah, they see me as rush linebacker and at Will linebacker.
Raider Power: Nice, and obviously you are comfortable with that or you wouldn't have committed?
Jones: Yes, sir. I am very comfortable with that.
Raider Power: Now how long has Texas Tech been recruiting you?
Jones: They have been recruiting me since last spring. Ever since they've been recruiting me and offered me we've stayed in contact every single day.
Raider Power: Tony who do you hear from the most? Who is leading your recruitment?
Jones: My coach, coach Spav (linebackers coach Zac Spavital).
Raider Power: Yeah, coach Spav. What's the impression you get from him?
Jones: I just feel like that man, he's ready to work. I feel like he can, like I said, put me in those right positions and make me be successful .
Raider Power: One of the things when watching your film that really stands out is your physicality. Where does that come from and how are you able to be physical on the field like that?
Jones: I'm just a ballhawk, I don't know. I played safety then they moved me to linebacker at Butler, but I'm that guy that wants to make that play that needs to be made every play. Even if it's across the field I just want to get my head in everything I can.
Raider Power: Then what did you think about coach (David) Gibbs?
Jones: Coach Gibbs is my man, he's real cool. As soon as he came and visited me at Butler I had great, great vibes and just a connection.
Raider Power: Who hosted you on the official visit?
Jones: Big Mych. Mychal Thomas.
Raider Power: Alright, Big Mych. You were teammates at Butler a couple years ago, right?
Raider Power: What's your relationship like?
Jones: Oh yeah, Big Mych and I are real cool. Even after he left we stayed in contact because he knew I was getting recruited by Texas Tech. We talked some, but then we finally got to see each other when I visited and the light came back on.
Raider Power: I saw you went to high school in Florida and you got to play running back some before starring on defense. What was your high school career like and how did you end up at Butler?
Jones: Yeah, I played both sides of the ball. I started at safety and running back. My sophomore year, that was the year I broke out. I was getting recruited by Mississippi State and Florida State. Then my senior year in the kickoff classic, the game before the regular season, I broke my forearm. Mississippi State had offered me my junior year going into my senior year, but when I broke my forearm I sat out six games, then I came back and played strictly defense because I had to play with a soft cast. Then I wasn't getting recruited as heavily as I was so my coach told me I had a JUCO which came through. I didn't even visit, I just showed up ready to play.
Raider Power: You had several offers coming out of Butler. Who was in the mix before you chose Tech?
Jones: Louisville, Memphis, I talked with Florida State, UCF. Those are the main I focused on, I had a lot more, but those were the main ones after cutting it down.
Raider Power: Are you signing on Wednesday?
Jones: Yes, sir.
Raider Power: What are your thoughts, like you said you had the setback with the injury and you went to Butler, but you've been a standout and now getting to a Power 5 school, on the journey you have been on?
Jones: Yes, sir. It's definitely been a journey. JUCO either breaks you or makes you, but I always fed off the positive vibes, that I want to get here, handle my business, get to where I am and I'm just very thankful my coaches saw the good in me, moved me down to a position at outside linebacker I had never played before. It feels like a dream come true. I feel that I have been playing linebacker, but I really haven't and I can get better.
Raider Power: Did you feel pretty confident about committing to Tech before the visit?
Jones: I was pretty confident just because of the way the me and the coaching staff had been communicating. We talk daily and not just with one coach, but the whole coaching staff. I just wanted to tie it up by going to take the visit. Everything with the visit was great so it's just perfect for me.
Raider Power: Do you know what you want to study at Tech?
Jones: Sports management.
Raider Power: Nice. What's your current height and weight? Did they weigh you and measure you and all that?
Jones: Yeah, I'm 6-2.25 and 222.
Raider Power: Is that pretty much what you want to play at or did they say what weight they want you at?
Jones: I could bulk up some more.
Raider Power: Is there anything you want to tell Texas Tech fans about committing or the future or anything?
Jones: Just know I'm giving it my all as a player and I'm going to be all over the field.
Raider Power: Alright, thank you, Tony.
Jones: Thank you.