Tradition key in Jones commitment

USC lands a huge commitment at the Under Amour All-American Bowl Friday in McKinney (Texas) four-star Ronald Jones II. Jones joins a USC class climbing quickly in the national rankings

On Dec. 6, McKinney (Texas) four-star running back Ronald Jones walked into an empty Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and had a surreal feeling.

Jones had grown up idolizing former Trojan running back Reggie Bush, and because of that, had he played football for USC inside the Coliseum hundreds of times. But that was in the virtual reality setting of the NCAA Football video game.

Friday night in Tampa (Fla.) from the Under Armour All-America game, Jones announced his intensions to play for the Trojans in real life.

“USC has always been a top school for me throughout the process,” said Jones. “The tradition, the academics… just everything.

“During that visit, I just felt like USC was the right place. I was still committed to Oklahoma State, but I think I knew. After that official I knew I was serious about USC.”

Jones knew enough to tell USC committed quarterback Ricky Town they’d cross paths again.

“I remember after the visit when we were all saying our goodbyes and stuff I hugged him,” said Town. “I said, ‘I hope to see you again’ and he said, ‘You will.’”

Indeed he will. Jones becomes commitment No. 19 for USC and the third running back taken by the Trojans in the 2015 class. Jones hopes to bring the same dynamic running ability to USC that Bush did decade ago.

But don’t expect the No. 5 jersey to show up on the Coliseum field any time soon.

“Oh no,” laughed Jones. “I’ll be No. 25 or some other single digit number at USC. I couldn’t wear No. 5. That would be disrespectful.”

One play of Bush’s resonated in Jones memory the most.

“Yeah, that play versus Fresno State,” said Jones. “That play where Reggie made that stop cut like he was in the Matrix.

“Then he cut back across the field and scored the touchdown. It was amazing.”

Ironically, that was a run Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller, who was officially visiting USC at the time, called “Sick to the stomach.”

Tradition and the explosive play of past Trojan players is one small part of what eventually led Jones to commit to USC.

“That’s the thing,” said Jones. “I committed early to Oklahoma State, but the USC coaches stayed after me. That showed me that they were serious.

“I would still talk to Coach (Chris) Wilson, Coach (Johnny) Nansen and a little bit of Clay Helton too.”

Leaving hm for college was something Jones had planned for long ago. Despite scholarship offers from Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and TCU, Jones always had his sights set beyond the boarders of the Lone Star State.

“I visited the Texas schools, and they were great, but my mom told me it would be a better for me to experience the world in another state,” said Jones. “She just felt like a new city and new environment would help me grow as a man.

“L.A. was so different when I visited. Just the people and the environment outside of the school was cool. There was a lot of traffic, but it was cool. My mom gave me her blessing to go experience something different and I did.”

Away from football, Jones did his research on USC academically meeting with professors from several different educational programs.

“My preferred major is business, so that was a factor in looking at USC and other schools,” said Jones. “USC is the No.9 rated school in the nation in business.”

USC has commitment from running backs Cedar Hill (Texas) four-star Aca’Cedric Ware and Mission Hills (Calif.) four-star Dominic Davis. One could describe Jones as a cross between both Ware and Davis.

At 6-foot, 190-pounds, ones is not a small running back. Yet, running the 100-meters as a junior in the 10.7 range, Jones attacks the line of scrimmage with a slashing style of running.

“I think I compliment those guys nicely,” said Jones. “To be honest, I thought they might be done recruiting running backs after they got two. But with the scholarship reductions, the coaches stayed after me.”

Jones also likes how USC uses their tailbacks. Whether he plays as a true freshman or not, he remains surprisingly humble about earning early playing time.

“I like the pro-style offense and pistol they use,” said Jones. “I think that type of offense will help my vision. I’m a north and south type running with quick cuts. I just want to go to USC and score as much as I can.

“I’d love to play as a true freshman if that’s what the coaches have planned for me. I don’t have any stats in mind next season or anything though.”

Jones ran for 2,009 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior for McKinney North. Coming away from his week in Florida for the Under Armour All-America game and a long month since officially visiting USC, Jones says he is done with recruiting.

“No more visits,” said Jones. “I want to finally enjoy my senior year. Recruiting was cool, but nope.”

Jones selects USC over Notre Dame and 21 other scholarship offers.

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