With a former teammate playing at the D-I level, a current teammate just presented with his Under Armour All-American game jersey and high major scholarship offers in his hand, it might be hard for Jackie Jones to focus on the present. The bright lights of division one football are in Jones’ future, but right now, he’s taking time to enjoy the world around him.
“I try not to look forward to recruiting or going into college because
I want to stay focused on high school and football right now because
I’m only in 11th grade and I don’t want recruiting to trip me up,”
Jones said. “I just try to stay focused on football and school.”
Former Long Beach Poly standout and current USC Trojan Juju Smith was
one of the great players to come out of Poly in recent memory. Smith
has already seen ample playing time as a freshman for the Trojans and
this hasn’t gone unnoticed by Jones. It’s one thing for a true freshman
to see playing time, but it’s another story when the freshman starts to
succeed. Is Jones surprised by Smith’s fast start to his college career?
“I wouldn’t say surprised because I know JuJu and his work ethic,” said
Jones. “He’s going to work until he gets the starting job. If he
doesn’t get the starting job, he’s going to keep working and keep
working. He’s not going to stop. That guy, he’s hungry.”
Speaking of USC, Jones was recently offered by the Trojans. He’s
remained in contact with the coaches for awhile now and when the offer
came, it made an impact on the the 5-foot-11, 160-pound defensive
“It means a lot, knowing that it’s down the street and that’s one of my
schools that I would go to,” Jones said. “Any college I would go to to
get a free education, but this is one of the colleges I would
(actually) go to. Strong program. JuJu just left here last year, goes
there. This is a pretty good program. It was big when I got it.”
There’s no lack of talent on the football field at Poly, especially
when it comes to Jones’ teammate Iman Marshall. The five-star
cornerback was presented with his Under Armour All-American jersey on
Friday morning and Jones was on hand for the ceremony.
“Oh it’s big,” Jones said. “I know all the top guys go to this, this
All-American game. Biggie is one of those top guys so I know he’s going
to go there and perform… That always gets me excited. I’m really
looking forward to going to this game next year. If they invite me, I’m
definitely going to go without a doubt.”
The talent level at Poly doesn’t drop off on the sidelines either.
Former NFL linebacker Antonio Pierce took over the head coaching duties
this year and he’s been invaluable to the team in Jones’ eyes.
“He’s big,” Jones said. “Honestly, without him, I don’t think I would
be in the situation that I’m in. He did a lot for me and a lot for this
team. Without him, I don’t think a lot of players would be in the
positions they’re in.”
Jones is a playmaker on both sides of the ball. He’s shown off his
electric speed at the wide receiver position and on the defensive side
of the ball thus far, proving to be one of the players to keep an eye
on in the 2016 class. However, Jones might prefer one side of the ball
than the other.
“People say I’m a receiver, but I like the defensive side better so I
can’t really say because really I got all my offers for receiver,”
Jones said. “I play both sides of the ball. I’m a football player. I
wouldn’t really pick. When I go to college, if they change my position,
I’ll play that position just to get on the field.”
His reason for preferring defense over offense?
“I actually like Patrick Peterson,” Jones said. “Defense is just more
exciting to me. I can go make the plays. On offense, I feel like plays
are just handed to me.”
Poly has a record of 7-1 this year with the one loss coming at the
hands of Centennial. Jones is leading the team in receptions, but still
feels like he can do more.
“The seasons been going alright,” Jones said. “I know I could do a
little better, but I just got to execute on the field. That comes with
more practice and dedicating more time to football so that’s going to
On the recruiting front, Jones said he was able to make it out to the
Oregon-UCLA game and he was thinking about going to the Colorado-USC
game at the time of publishing. He currently holds offers from Boise State, San Jose State, Texas Tech, UCLA and USC.
Jones a two-way star for 2016
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