Jones Says Decision to Come Soon

The #6-ranked running back in the country, Westlake Village Oaks Christian's Malcolm Jones, is down to two Pac-10 schools and says he's going to make his decision soon. He talked about what has stood out for him with both of his finalists...

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian running back Malcolm Jones, a five-star back by, has narrowed his choices down to two schools.

Stanford, the first to offer Jones, and UCLA, the local school, will be battling it out for one of the elite football prospects nationally.

"Basically, those are the ones that just stood out for me," said Jones. "They are two really good academic schools, first of all, and they are both in a really nice area and I like that. And they're two schools on the rise and in need of a big playmaker. I'd be one of the top athletes to come into those schools and I could make a big impact."

Jones said that he's got no plans to visit either school between now and when he makes his decision.

"I've seen all I've really need to see at both schools," said Jones. "I kind of want to decide by the end of September."

Jones, who's good enough at linebacker to be an elite prospect at that position, said that the Cardinal and Bruins both want him on offense.

"I definitely am going to play running back," said Jones. "Both the colleges are saying they want me as a running back. I can be a complete back, fast and strong and I think both schools want that premier back."

Jones said neither has emerged as a leader over the other and both are recruiting him equally hard.

"It's pretty even," said Jones. "It's really hard to pick a favorite, I'm pretty split down 50-50. They're both doing about the same recruiting job. For Stanford, it's usually Coach (Willie) Taggart and Coach (Andy) Buh but I talk to Coach (Jim) Harbaugh every now and then. For UCLA, its mainly Coach (Wayne) Moses but I talk to Coach (Rick) Neuheisel a lot too. But I really like both coaching staffs."

Jones, ranked sixth nationally, has frequented both campus, going up to Stanford and seeing several former Oaks' teammates during the spring.

"When I went up to Stanford, I hung out with Chris Owusu and Sean Wiser, so it's nice to know they have some of my former teammates," said Jones.

UCLA is close enough that he's been able to spend time in Westwood.

"UCLA is really close to home and even though I haven't been able to go to one of their practices because we are in fall practice, I might go catch a game when the season starts," said Jones.

Jones said he's eager to make that decision, as it's become somewhat of a drain on him. "I'm kind of getting sick of it actually," said Jones. "It's hard to keep up with returning calls. It's to the point where I just want to end it and focus the season."

Heading into his third year as a starter for the Lions, and fourth on varsity, Jones is well prepared for his senior season.

Oaks has won six straight CIF-SS titles and won the state title his freshman year, when he took over for an injured Marc Tyler at tailback and helped the Lions win the D-III state title.

"I have the most experience, playing varsity for Oaks Christian, so I've taken on more of a leadership role," said Jones. "I'm pretty much going to play both ways, but if I do take some time off, it will be on defense."

The Lions are ranked #1 by many services as the top team in the West. And Jones is more than ready for the challenge.

"It puts a little more pressure to perform better, with all of those rankings, and you have to do your best," said Jones. "When you're #1, people try to take that spot from you, so you have to work harder and harder to stay on top. It gives us a little more motivation, to keep winning every game."

Oaks opens with Alemany in week one, Pasadena Muir in week two and then a nationally televised clash with Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline in week three.

"Of course we want to win another CIF title, but I want to go to state," said Jones. "I want to win one as a senior like I did as a freshman."

Academically, Jones is carrying a 3.8 and has a qualifying test score. 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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