The MU recruit from Smithville is rated the No. 5 tight end in the country, but it doesn’t stop there. He’s been working as an unofficial Mizzou recruiter for months now, calling fellow recruits and forming bonds while pitching them MU as the place to be.
“I talked to Coach Hill and he [joked] that in a couple of years they’re going to have to put me on the payroll,” Jones told Inside Mizzou. “I said no, you wouldn’t want an Oklahoma situation.”
Jones has kept in touch with a variety of recruits this summer, including most of the eight rising seniors who have committed. Though he hasn’t been able to help land them all – he was working quarterback Braden Hanson pretty hard before Hanson chose North Carolina recently – he’s been pretty successful.
Lately he’s been talking to Raytown defensive end Aldon Smith quite a bit. The two are friends from basketball, and Smith is a big-time prospect whom Jones would like to see in black and gold. Because he wants to make sure there is high-level talent around him, he follows Mizzou’s recruiting as closely as anyone, it seems.
“I think the staff has done a really good job of getting some guys that everybody doesn’t know about, and some guys who everyone knew about,” Jones said.
For the most part, schools have finally stopped trying to sway Jones from his MU commitment. Oregon and Nebraska were trying to get him to come visit and change his plans earlier this summer, but he shot them down in short order. He still gets loads of generic recruiting mail, but the only school to personally try and recruit him recent was West Virginia.
“They said I had an offer coming. I don’t even know how they got my number,” he said, laughing.
Jones has spent the summer working out, and as a result has gained muscle. He’s up to 241 pounds but hasn’t lost any quickness and expects to drop some weight during practice, which begins this week. He can’t wait to get back onto the field for some real football.
“We’ve been playing seven-on-sevens. I don’t like them, they’re boring. I’d rather play with pads on,” he said. “I’d rather go up [for the ball] with somebody on my back.”
Aside from that, it’s been relatively quiet for Jones. When we caught up with him, he had just finished watching the new Adam Sandler comedy, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” which he said was hilarious. He’s also gained a measure of celebrity after appearing on Inside Mizzou Magazine’s cover last month, though it hasn’t helped him land a copy.
All of his family members, his girlfriend and some other friends have copies, but he hasn’t been able to hold onto one for very long.
v“Everyone’s got one but me. It’s kind of a ripoff,” he said.
Jones, also a standout basketball player, skipped the AAU circuit this summer because it takes away too much time from his weightlifting regimen. The 6-foot-5 power forward did attend a team camp this summer at MU, where it was expressed to him that the men’s basketball program could use his toughness. But the idea of banging with 6-9 Big 12 ballplayers doesn’t seem appealing.
“I don’t know about that. I don’t feel like getting dunked on every other time,” he said.
But Jones will play basketball for Smithville this winter. He figures he’ll need to average 21.5 points per game to break the school’s scoring record, which is held by former Mizzou baseball standout Jayce Tingler, who played several years of Minor League pro ball and is now coaching with the Texas Rangers. He also has been named to the all-state team three years in a row.
“It’d be pretty cool to be all-state four years,” Jones said.
Mizzou fans wouldn’t mind if he racks up honors like that on the college gridiron. And the potential is certainly there.
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