Austin (Texas) Westlake four-star linebacker Levi Jones always envisioned himself living on the West Coast someday, but he now has the opportunity to make that day sooner rather than later.
This week Jones unofficially visited both UCLA and USC. Both schools have offered Jones a scholarship to live in Westwood (Calif.) or Los Angeles (Calif.).
His scholarship from USC came just two weeks ago.
“I just wanted to check out the atmosphere at USC,” said Jones. “I wanted to check out the scenery, and it’s beautiful.
“I wanted to get to know Coach (Johnny) Nansen a little bit and Coach Clay Helton. I just wanted to meet the staff, visit campus and check it all out in person. It went well. I really liked it and enjoyed myself.
“Everyone is nice here, and it was a little bit better than I expected. I got a lot out of the visit. It’s a great school and they offer a great education too.”
Jones not only visited USC’s campus, but he also had a chance to take in a full-pad spring practice up close. Jones was offered a scholarship by USC to play either MIKE linebacker or SAM linebacker in their 5-2 hybrid scheme.
“I watched the pace of practice and the type of players they had on defense,” said Jones. “It was good to see the scheme.”
Jones, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, could be an inside or outside linebacker at USC or UCLA. Earlier in the week, he unofficially visited Westwood and toured the Bruins' campus with his family.
“Seeing UCLA, the highlight for me was meeting Coach (Jim) Mora,” said Jones. “He’s a really funny dude and a great guy. I enjoyed his personality and what he had to offer just talking with him.
“I toured around campus and they showed me the facilities — even the new stuff they’re building that will be done in 2017. It was just awesome and a really nice place. The location is nice.
“It's not downtown L.A., but it’s not really far either. It felt like a nice college campus. With USC, it’s right there downtown.”
Regardless of whether Jones hypothetically ends up at USC or UCLA, he would be leaving home for college. While that’s a difficult decision for some recruits and their families to make, Jones has imagined himself living outside Texas for a long time.
“I’ve always envisioned myself moving and living on the West Coast,” said Jones. “Football wise, I would love to play in the SEC as well, but I’m also interested in the Pac-12 too.
“Being out here, visiting, I can see myself living out here for the next few years. I feel like I can. I love the great weather and I’ve always thought about life after football with the entertainment industry and things like that. I want to major in business, so I’m thinking about that with each school as well. To be honest, I’ve always just been interested in the L.A. vibe.”
Jones is in no hurry to make a decision on leaving Texas for college or even narrowing down his options.
“I definitely want to wait on making a decision until after the season,” said Jones. “I want to see what I’ll be walking into. I want to see how everything plays out this season and take my official visits.
“I’ll wait until after football and my senior season. I couldn’t even tell you when I’ll sit down with my family and plan my official visits. I’m still taking the process in… it’s all happening so fast. It’s crazy. UCLA and USC are definitely in that pool of choices though.”