From the outside looking in, the “Gator Love” weekend was a smash hit. Several prospects already committed to the Florida Gators visited this weekend and all of them seemed to have a great time. Sarasota Booker linebacker John Jones certainly left with a warm and fuzzy feeling about the team he’s planning to sign with on February 7.
At 6-3 and 205 pounds Jones will have to add some weight in the strength training program at Florida, but his athletic skill cannot be denied. He is a combo linebacker/end on the defensive side of the ball and on offense he played wide receiver. He’s a big time football star but he felt humbled when he met Florida’s coaching staff this weekend, just a couple of weeks removed from their 41-14 national championship win over Ohio State in the Tostitos National Championship Game.
When Jones met with Florida Coach Urban Meyer Sunday morning, he was all but speechless.
“Coach Meyer, just knowing they won the national championship and the head coach was sitting and talking to me, that was crazy,” Jones said.
But, Jones wasn’t all that surprised about the outcome. He had predicted a big win even before the Gators took the field.
“I called Coach (Steve) Addazio and told him it was going to be a blowout before the game … I said 35-7,” said Jones.
A common theme among visitors to Gainesville is the people and how much the prospects enjoy the time with the players, coaches, and the Gainesville community. It was much of the same with Jones who was hosted by Gator linebacker Dustin Doe.
“Dustin Doe was a real cool guy,” he said. “I got there Friday night, late. So, I didn’t do much that night. Saturday we got up and did some stuff with academics and then talked to all the coaches. Saturday night we had dinner at Coach Meyer’s house. I really enjoyed myself over the weekend. It really seems like all the players really like each other. That was nice.”
Co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Charlie Strong also got some time with Jones and told him where he thought the speedy backer would fit in the Florida system.
“Coach Strong said if I come in prepared I could play early,” Jones said. “He showed me some film and said I would come in as a will linebacker.”
As is the case with most official visitors to the Gators, they get a chance for a sit down conversation with the head coach. In the case of Meyer, he rarely uses this time to talk about playing for the Gators, but instead for what it is like and should mean to be a Gator. He wants the prospects to know what he expects out of them as students and people before anything they do on the football field
“Coach Meyer just talked about what kind of person I am and how he thinks I am well spoken,” Jones said. “He told me to just get those academics in order. He told me about Dallas Baker and DeShawn Wynn and those guys and the troubles they were having and how they just buckled down and even graduated before they were done.”
As for Jones, he wants Gator fans to understand what they are getting in Mr. John Jones from Sarasota (FL).
“I am going to be a real player that is going to try and lead the Gators to another championship,” he said.