Jones relationship with Florida Gators assistant coach helps UF

The Florida Gators have been able to pull a kid out of the state of Texas the last two years and they’re trying to extend that to a third straight year this year.

One of the top guys that could fill that spot is linebacker Levi Jones (6-3, 215, Austin, TX. Westlake) who says he only has an official visit planned for January as of right now.

“I’m taking three in January, I have one set up and that’s Florida on January 13th-15th,” Jones said. “I haven’t decided on the other two yet. It’s between Texas A&M, UCLA, USC and Florida State. I can take a midweek visit but I don’t want to do that.”

Florida has a built in connection with Jones as his father Robert Jones played for Gators linebackers coach Randy Shannon.

“The beginning of my relationship with Florida started because Randy Shannon coached my dad at Miami,” Jones said. “He’s known me since I was a little boy and through the whole recruiting process we’ve grown closer and closer as well.”

When Jones was asked if having that relationship helps the Gators out, he quickly answered the question with a yes.

“It helps a lot,” Jones said when asked if Shannon being at Florida helps them. “Our relationship is great and I feel secure if I was to go there because of him being there. It would be awesome if he got the defensive coordinator position and it would help for sure because it would show that he’s in a secure spot.”

Jones father has explained to the linebacker his respect for Shannon but also doesn’t push the younger Jones to a school.

“My dad loves him,” Jones said of his dad’s relationship with Randy Shannon. “He loves him as well. My dad doesn’t push me to go anywhere. He doesn’t pressure me”

Shannon is also explaining to Jones that not only is he needed in Gainesville but that the Gators fit him well.

“Coach Shannon tells me that I can be better than my dad or will be better than him,” Jones said. “Just overall he has talked to me about how good of a player I am and how he can see me in the defense there. And just overall talks to me about recruiting.”

The Gators linebackers coach isn’t the only coach talking to Jones as head coach Jim McElwain also keeps in contact with him.

“I talk to Coach McElwain a lot, he texts me a lot,” Jones said. “Every time before we got off the phone he tells me to go to bed and imagine me playing in their uniform. He says to imagine that, I think it’s pretty funny.”

McElwain and Shannon have both expressed to Jones that his position will be decided once he arrives on campus.

“They’ve told me that they like me as both inside and outside guy,” Jones said. “He hasn’t confirmed which one yet because he doesn’t want to say I’ll play one place and then I play another one when I get there.”

Next up for Jones is the visit to Florida and possibly other visits and then the linebacker plans to make a decision and he knows what will factor into that commitment.

“I’m going to take my three visits and then decide,” Jones said. “My factors in my decision will be where I can see myself playing for the next 3-4 years. Also where I will like no matter if I get hurt or not, I’ll be set up for the rest of my life or have a platform to start.”

Jones also put to bed any notion that he has to stay in his home of Texas on Tuesday.

“I’ve always wanted to leave home or get away from home,” Jones said. “Florida or Florida State isn’t too far from home.”



INSIDERS TAKE: Jones having only one official visit set is good news for Florida, plus when if asked if he could possibly end it after his official he said this “If it goes as is planned.” Sounds like the Gators have the momentum heading into visits.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.