Two-Sport Prospect

A Florida two-sport star faces a similar decision to one faced by West Virginia's quarterback a couple of years ago, and if he makes the same choice he could end up wearing the Mountaineers' colors as well.

Quarterback/safety/shortstop Mark Jones of Flagler-Palm Coast High School in Bunnell, Fla. has a decision in front of him. Will it be baseball or football for the multi-skilled athlete?

"I play both football and baseball, so I am waiting to see what happens [in recruiting] in both sports," said Jones, whose athleticism has made him a standout in both. "It's possible I could be drafted next year, so I could wait to see what happens there. But I am going to decide on just one sport to play in college."

Jones, who as the best athlete on his squad mans the quarterback position, is being recruited for football as a safety. The 6-0, 200-pounder laid down a 4.58 40-yard dash at a recent camp, and is happy to play anywhere he can get on the field.

"I don't mind where I play," said Jones, who fits right into the mold of any of WVU's three safety positions. "I think I can play any of them. I know West Virginia signed a lot of quarterbacks, so they are recruiting me as a safety."

Jones is one of the targets of new West Virginia assistant Rod Smith, who came to the Mountaineers from conference foe South Florida.

"My interest in West Virginia started when my high school coach sent out tapes. West Virginia saw my tape and liked it, and Coach Smith came down and talked to me I think I would fit in well at West Virginia.

"Just talking with Coach Smith, I think he is a great guy," Jones continued. "He knows what he is doing. He works with good players and recruits good players, and hopefully he has found one in me."

With an early offer from West Virginia, Jones has the Mountaineers atop his early list, even though he has yet to visit the campus.

"West Virginia is at the top, and I'm getting interest from Florida, South Florida and Western Kentucky too," Jones detailed. "That's pretty much my list so far. West Virginia is the only school that has offered me. I like West Virginia too because there are a lot of Florida players there. They recruit here a lot, and are recruiting several players in my area.

"I haven't made a visit yet, but I will work that out and do that during the fall. I am pretty sure I will be able to work that out during my senior season."

Jones, who played safety as a sophomore and will again man that spot as a senior after concentrating mostly on quarterback as a junior, completed 70-112 passes for 1,296 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. He added three more on the ground while suffering just three interceptions, but knows that his future lies on the defensive side of the ball. That doesn't mean, however, that the time spent at quarterback has been without value in terms of his play at safety.

"Playing quarterback has helped me a lot on defense," said Jones. "I think about what the quarterback might do against the defense we have called, and that helps me a lot. I am good at knowing the game. I've played for a long time, and I am good at making reads."

Jones, who attended Florida's camp in June as well as another camp recently, is pretty much finished with his summer tour.

"I'm just working out now to get stronger and faster and get ready for my senior year."

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