Junior to watch: WR Derrick Jones

WeAreSC.com caught up with LB Poly wide receiver Derrick Jones who is ranked as one of the top recruits in the upcoming class. Jones is a speedster who also excels on the track and he will be taking a long look at the Trojans. Click below for details:

Jones had a good junior year for the Jackrabbits with 39 catches for 1,476 yards while last summer in track he won the Junior Olympics gold medal in the 100 and both relays.  He also starred recently in the LA invitational track meet at the Sports Arena by winning the HS 55M dash as he beat Reggie Bush in a close finish.

WeAreSC "Did you grow up in Long Beach and know about LB Poly?"

Jones "No, I lived here a little when I was younger but mostly I grew up in Gardena.  I started to hear about Poly when I was 11 or 12 and people were talking about Ken-yon Rambo or Willie McGinest, guys like that.  My older brother, who is deceased now, he went here and played freshman football."

WeAreSC "Are there other athletes in your family?"

Jones "My dad, he played football and ran track at Gardena and at Taft JC.  My mom went to Long Beach State but she didn't play sports."

WeAreSC "When did you first start to notice you had different speed than some of the other kids?"

Jones "When I was like 8 years old.  I was the fastest guy on the Pop Warner football team and then I was the fastest in track as well so I just started practicing a lot. Running track, at first I didn't take it serious because when you're young you like to play a lot but now I take it more serious than I used to."

WeAreSC "When did that transition take place?"

Jones "Probably when I was 12.  That's the time that a lot of kids start getting faster and you start to see who your competition is, sometimes they are as good as you or even better than you so you've got to start working harder."

WeAreSC "Who helped you with that?"

Jones "Well, Coach Don (Norford, Poly track coach) he does a lot.  He's amazing, even though his workouts are hard and there are times you want to quit it helps you out to keep going.  Coach Merle (Cole), Coach Keith (Anderson) and Coach Doc (Moye) they all stay on my butt too and keep me working."

WeAreSC "Talk about some of the track training."

Jones "It's crazy workouts.  Last week we ran a 4-2 breakdown, that's a 400 and then a 200 without a rest in between and we had to run about six of those.  That's hard.  I don't work with any outside track coaches or anything, just Coach Don.  I went from a 10.9 as a freshman to a 10.53 in the 100 now and 22.1 as a freshman to 21.2 in the 200 now so whatever he's doing it's working."

WeAreSC "What are some of your goals for track this year?"

Jones "I'm hoping to break below 10.4 and get into the 10.3's while going 20.0 something in the 200 and also having our relay teams win state.  If we practice hard that's a possibility."

WeAreSC "What's your height/weight right now?"

Jones "I'm 6-1 and I weigh 173."

WeAreSC "Talk about some of the places you've been with track."

Jones "I've been to Las Vegas, Seattle, Omaha, New York, Texas, Florida, places like that.  It's fun even though some of the places be different than California with the weather.  It's like 105 degrees and it'll be raining or storming, stuff like that, crazy."

WeAreSC "Do you consider yourself a track guy or a football player?"

Jones "I consider myself a football player first and then I run track.  I like football better anyways.  Both sports are competitive but I just like the competition better on the football field."

WeAreSC "When you look at players in college and the NFL who are some of the receivers you pattern your game after?"

Jones "My favorite receiver is Jerry Rice but I try to imitate my moves off Peter Warrick and my speed is kind of like Randy Moss."

WeAreSC "How is your work ethic?"

Jones "I try to be the hardest working guy on the team.  If we're running our gassers or stuff I always want to stay in the front.  If I'm lagging in the back the coaches are gonna say something anyways so I might as well stay up in the front so they can't say anything."

WeAreSC "Talk about playing football at LB Poly."

Jones "When I was in 9th grade I knew Poly was the best football team around and that's where I wanted to play.  I knew a lot of the guys here from age group track and Pop Warner plus my best friend Khalid Abdul-Rahim goes here so that's why I wanted to play here." 

WeAreSC "Talk about some of the highlights so far in your Poly career."

Jones "In the playoffs I had two games where I had over 200 yards in each game and ended up with six TD's for those two games.  In the playoffs total I had over 500 yards receiving and seven touchdowns so I feel that's pretty good."

WeAreSC "Describe yourself as a player."

Jones "I feel that any time I get the ball in my hands I should try to get into the end zone."

WeAreSC "What are your experiences from the DeLaSalle games?"

Jones "My sophomore year I know I had a bad game but I tried to bring that over into this year and work harder so I won't have that experience like I did.  It was my first big game, I'm not trying to make an excuse or anything cause I just dropped the ball.  I shoulda caught it though.  I guess everything happens for a reason, a good reason, but after that game I felt real bad.  We had so many superstars on that team and they kept us in the game, I felt like the reason we lost was because of me dropping the ball.  My coaches tried to tell me that wasn't the reason but I felt that way.  The coaches and everybody, they could say all they wanted to try and motivate me and everything but it didn't matter then, now it's to the point where I don't care what anybody says about it.  At the time though I wanted to quit but I kept coming to practice and that ended up being the only bad game I had that year.  This year I didn't do too much in the game because they were keying on me with two defenders, three defenders or a guy in my face with one playing deep.  Even though we had a bad game I felt we still could have won but it didn't work out that way."

WeAreSC "What do you need to work on to beat those double teams?"

Jones "My coaches work with me on different routes for when a team is bracketing me so the quarterback needs to be in combination when we see the double team so he knows what route I'll be running."

WeAreSC "How many times have you heard yourself compared to Kareem Kelly?"

Jones "All the time.  They talk about when he was here and compare me to him but I want to be my own person.  Don't get me wrong, it's good when people say that, I talk to Kareem all the time when he comes back for workouts and I think he's a great receiver but I want to be my own person."

WeAreSC "How are you similar and how are you different?"

Jones "Well, we're both fast.  I don't know, I think our routes are different but it's hard to explain because he runs deep routes and I run deep routes.  It's hard to compare."

WeAreSC "You're starting the recruit


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