John Jones proved he’s a do-everything type during a fine 9-2 season that saw Sarasota Booker make it to the second round of the state playoffs. He was a standout on both sides of the ball, playing two positions on offense and two on defense. He will take his official visit to Florida in January and he’s getting his academic house in order so he can enroll at UF in June.
On offense, Jones was an outstanding wide receiver and tight end for Booker. It’s on defense, however, that he got Florida coaches’ attention. He played both linebacker and defensive end and there are quite a few quarterbacks in the Sarasota area that aren’t unhappy that he won’t be terrorizing them anymore.
“I had 63 tackles and 13 sacks this year and played defensive end and linebacker in our 3-4 defensive scheme,” said Jones, a lanky 6-3 whose football weight was 205 pounds.
He is down to 194 pounds now having lost a little weight since football season because he is also a star on the basketball court. A Carmello Anthony-type player, Jones loves to slash to the basket. When he’s not practicing for Booker’s outstanding basketball team, he spends his time getting ready for college and taking those last couple of steps of qualifying.
“School is going good. I am just working on qualifying,” he said. “I just need two more points on the ACT and am on my third try.”
Since his commitment over the summer, Jones did take a recruiting visit to LSU. Although he had a good time in Baton Rouge, when he returned home to Sarasota there was no doubt where he wanted to go to school. He is anxious to get to his official visit to Gainesville in mid-January.
“I am very solid,” he said about his commitment to the Gators. “I am coming in on January 18th and I really want to see all of the campus. I just liked the school and the team. I really like the style of defense they play. They have a lot o speed and athleticism and they know how to use it. I will be playing will linebacker, manned by Earl Everett right now. That position is in coverage a great deal.”
A couple of coaches have been recruiting Jones to Gainesville. Coach Steve Addazio recruits the Sarasota area for the Gators and co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Charlie Strong will be his position coach in college.
“Coach Addazio is a cool guy and really down to earth,” Jones said. “I really don’t know what Coach Strong is really like, but it should be a lot of fun playing for him. I talked to him about keeping my number (11) and he was great to talk to.”
What kind of player are the Gators going to get in Jones? He is the type of player that loves to get the guys around him ready to play. He will get in their face if he needs to, or he will jump around until they get excited with him.
“I am a very exciting player to watch, I get all excited and show it,” he said. “I probably won’t be a vocal leader in the beginning, but in time I will be a vocal leader out there on the field.”
There aren’t many prospects versatile enough to play wide receiver/tight end/linebacker/defensive end so John Jones is a special talent. He has the ability to fit in on either side of the ball but it is on defense that he figures to be an outstanding component of Florida’s great 2007 recruiting class.