Matt Jones commits to Florida

SEFFNER — Florida has been in desperate need of signing a big time running back. On Wednesday they took a big step in fulfilling that need. Matt Jones (6-3/210, Seffner/ Armwood HS) verbally committed to Florida on Saturday, but made his decision public on Wednesday at a ceremony at the Armwood High School field house.

“I chose the University of Florida because I love the coaching staff and I love some of the players on the team. Gator Country felt like home to me,” Jones said. “I truly believe that I will rock the Gator Nation. By getting this commitment behind me now, I can give all my attention to my academics and football. I have just recently been selected as a captain for my team here at Armwood. I do not want to come up short again in the state championship. I’m not only committed to the University of Florida, but also to Armwood. We will not be denied two years in a row. I’m looking forward to all of the challenges that will be set in front of me.”

Jones attended Florida’s Junior Day this past Saturday and came away very impressed with all of the new coaches.

“I got to meet and talk with the new tight end’s coach (Derek Lewis), and coach (Brian) White. I also had a chance to talk with Charlie Weis and coach (Will) Muschamp” Jones said. “We just talked about how they would use me in their offense, and how they are only taking two running backs in this class. I just loved everything about it; I decided that is where I wanted to be.

“I felt that Muschamp and I had a great vibe. Derek Lewis is an exciting guy to be around. He came up to me and did the chomp and I knew where he was coming from. Brian White told me I can be a runner just like Ron Dayne.

“They told me they need a big back for their pro-style offense and they need a big guy to come in and run the ball downhill.

Jones is the No. 1 player on the Gator Country Top 50 players in the state. Jones helped lead the Armwood Hawks to the class 4A state title game.  Jones led the Hawks with 1,300 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns during the regular season; he also added 209 receiving yards and another three touchdowns.

With the Jones commitment the Gators now have three 2012 commitments. The other committed prospects include DT Dante Phillips (6-6/270, Venice/ Venice HS) and WR Latroy Pittman (6-1/190, Citra/ North Marion HS).

“I’m a Gator for life,” Jones said. “I’m not taking any other visits.

“I feel like I got some weight off my shoulders now that I’m committed to Florida. It’s going to feel good not to have 14 missed calls every night.”