Bruins Keeping Up With Jones

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian running back Malcolm Jones, one of the elite prospects in the class of 2010, is trying to stake his claim as the top ball-carrier in the class and he says UCLA is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest...

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian running back Malcolm Jones (6-0, 220), will be in the conversation all year for the top running back in the West, in a class that is as good as any in the last decade.

Jones, the owner of a half-dozen offers, has been under the watchful eye of several programs since his freshman year, when he took over for an injured Marc Tyler during the Lions state championship run, and he's only bolstered his case the past two seasons.

Last weekend, Jones was a guest at USC for the Trojans' Junior Day, and he landed an offer from the Trojans on the visit.

"I was actually a little surprised because to me it seemed that SC wasn't interested in me, but once I got the offer, I was like wow," said Jones. "Pete Carroll was who offered me. Marshall (Jones, his older brother and a safety at USC), was happy for me."

The visit was topped off by the offer, and Jones said the trip there was enjoyable.

"It was fun, they took us around the whole school and showed us all the coaches and the weight room," said Jones. "We had position meetings with the coaches to get to meet them and know them more. I really liked it."

This coming weekend, Jones will be heading to Palo Alto to visit Stanford for their Junior Day. The Cardinal were the first to offer Jones, doing so officially on September 1st of 2008, but verbally offering him before that.

"I really feel like Stanford has made me a priority," said Jones. "So I'm going up there for their Junior Day. I talk to Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and Coach (Andy) Buh a lot."

Jones is also planning to take in one of UCLA's Junior Days and Cal, who's come on of late, despite not offering, also has invited Jones to their Junior Day.

"Coach (Chuck) Bullough is recruiting me for UCLA. I would say that UCLA and Stanford and then probably Notre Dame are recruiting me the hardest. I think maybe Notre Dame might be next to offer me."

Three in-state schools have offered Jones, and he also has offers from Colorado, Oregon and Arizona. LSU, meanwhile, has been sending him a lot of mail in the past few weeks.

And despite all the attention, Jones doesn't want to make a hasty choice, and he's not narrowed his list at all.

"I don't have a top five right now, it's still pretty early for me," said Jones. "I'm going to take my time. I've got some good offers, some that aren't just like any offers. But I think I'm probably going to wait through the whole thing. Right now, I don't have a clue where I want to go. I may want to take all five of my official visits and I might take some officials during the season. I can go anywhere, location doesn't matter to me. In a sense, I kind of want to go my own way, maybe somewhere different than Marshall."

Jones watched Marshall's recruitment three years ago, and dreamed of the day when he'd have his own turn to pick and choose where he wanted to go.

"It's been a little different, because now I'm getting recruited. It's kind of hitting me, and I'm starting to realize now is my chance to make a name and decide where I want to go," said Jones.

An all-state underclass pick by, Jones is one of the more powerful runners in the West.

"I kind of like being a powerful back," said Jones. "I'm one of those big backs, who can deliver big hits and get the first down. But I think I'm multi-dimensional. I think I have some quicks and some speed. I'm pretty versatile."

Jones has won three CIF titles in three seasons at Oaks and the state title as a freshman. He's part of another vaunted Oaks class, that has at least six D-I recruits.

"It's fun, because we kind of mess around and talk about our offers we like to each get our offers out there," said Jones. "But our main goal is a state title. It's either that or the season is a disappointment for us."

Jones is also a stellar linebacker, and could play defense in college, but if he has his choice, he'll stay on offense.

"I pick running back," said Jones.

Academically, Jones is carrying a 3.8 and he'll wait until the spring of to take the SAT. He's also taking honors and AP classes.

Jones ended a strong junior year with over 300 yards in offense in the CIF-SS Northwest Division title game win over Gardena (Calif.) Serra. He finished the 2008 season with 1,500 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns.

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