Dan Mullen wasted little time on the recruiting trail after taking over the Florida Gators and that effort paid off in a big way on Wednesday.
Mullen secured his quarterback of the future when Emory Jones (6-2, 195, Franklin GA, Heard County) sent in his national letter of intent. Jones committed to Ohio State back in July, 2016 but started to waver with his pledge as the early signing period approached.
“Things weren’t right. I just don’t think they were the right fit for me,” Jones told Andrew Spivey of Gator Country. “Me and Coach Meyer and all the coaching staff kind of lost contact and it just wasn’t right. I just had to do what I had to do.”
After Jones’ last high school game he reached out to new Florida head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen had offered Jones when he was at Mississippi State but communication had dropped off after Jones’ commitment to Ohio State. Jones
“I kind of knew that Ohio State wasn’t the best place for me, wasn’t the best fit for me, so me and Coach Mullen started texting,” Jones said of how he and Mullen got back in contact. “It was crazy how God just put that in front of me. For Coach Mullen to come back into my life at this time after they offered me my first scholarship.”
Florida Gators new quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson may have been the real key to recruiting Jones to Florida. Johnson was on staff at Mississippi State with Mullen and recruited Jones. Even when Johnson left for Houston the young quarterback coach made sure to keep an open dialogue and relationship with Jones. When Johnson was hired at Florida it just seemed as if everything was falling into place for Jones.
“It’s always been a great relationship with him,” Jones said of Johnson. “Even when I was committed to Ohio State he always text me and checked up with me to see how I was doing. We always had a great relationship and then him coming back into my life, it just makes it even better. We’ve grown so much together.”
The decision to leave Ohio State wasn’t an easy one, especially when you consider Jones would be leaving Urban Meyer for a coach that followed Meyer around the country coaching under him. “It’s kind of weird,” Jones admitted. “But I’m pretty sure Coach Meyer knows that I’m in good hands.”
The Gators only have three quarterbacks on scholarship right now in Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Jake Allen. Malik Zaire could potentially apply for an additional hardship waiver but has yet to do so at this time. Even with a thin depth chart, Jones maintains that he wasn’t promised anything by the Gators’ coaching staff.
“They still told me that I need to come in and compete. I know that. That’s anywhere in college football I’m going to have to go in and compete,” Jones said. “I just need to go in and work, be in he classroom, be on the board with Coach Johnson and get the mental part of the game and then I feel like my game will do the rest.”
Jones will enroll at Florida this January and will be able to participate and begin battling for a job during spring practice. Jones told Gator Country that he has some guys in mind that he’ll begin recruiting to join him but that he’s just ready to get on campus and get to work.
NOTE: All quotes were obtained firsthand by Andrew Spivey.