It’s often assumed that San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon sophomore wide receiver Darren Jones is a basketball player just now emerging on the gridiron scene, but the 6-foot-7 junior has actually played more football than basketball in his life.
At Saturday’s 32 Cares 7-On-7 Passing Tournament, Jones certainly looked the part of an unstoppable threat at receiver.
“I’ve been playing football since I was 8-years-old, so I’ve been playing football for all of those years,” said Jones. “When I started getting taller, people said I should start playing basketball.
“So football has actually been my main sport. I’ve only been playing basketball for about four years.”
Jones transferred from Upland High School after his freshman year, which forced him to sit out his sophomore year at Cajon. This offseason Jones and his Cajon teammate J@ played for team Jayden Daniels
“I can’t wait,” said Jones. “I’m ready for people to come see me because I know what I can do.
“I don’t back down from competition. I’ll go
“I’m 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8, and basketball helps me play with the ball in the air. I’m tall, but I play even taller. I think I showed that (during the tournament). The ball goes to me and I play my height. I didn’t drop any passes and I ran my routes.”
Having said that, Jones knows there is room for improvement.
“I’ve been working on my stance,” said Jones. “I’m trying to stay low and get off the line quick.
“Defensive backs are always going to try to press me, so I have to keep working on my hands too. I have to be physical and keep getting faster.”
Without any sophomore game tape, Jones still has scholarship offers from Utah and Nevada.
“They were just saying to keep my grades up and they’ll keep watching for me.”
The 2019 wide receiver is sure to garner more interest from schools on the West Coast and outside the region. With his unique set of ball skills and size, Jones has a wishlist of college football programs he’d like to hear more from.
Jones doesn’t know much about USC, but he did unofficially visit campus his freshman year.
“I’ve been liking USC since I was little,” said Jones. “I like their passing game and they can beat most teams the way they play.
“It’s in California, and going up there to watch practice a couple of times, it was really nice.”
While it’s very early in the recruiting process for Jones, he has two main factors he is looking for in a college.
“Academics and the football team,” said Jones. “Academics are important just in general. The football team… I want to see how they pass the ball and use their receivers. I can run block too, but I need to see what type of receivers have played there and got out.”