A.J. Jones (6-3, 195) caught 23 passes for 390 yards and seven touchdowns his senior year at South Oak Cliff High School (Dallas, Texas). He had offers from New Mexico State, Colorado State, Texas Tech and Iowa. He committed to NMSU and CSU, but committed when Ferentz offered during his visit last weekend. He also was offered a visit to Texas Tech, but chose to visit Iowa City.
“They like my height and that I can stretch the field with my speed,” Jones told HawkeyeReport.com. “They’re looking for me to come in and compete next year.”
Jones' recruiting took off in January. There were scholarship offers from New Mexico State and Colorado State and then eventually Texas Tech and Iowa.
"It's been kind of crazy, but I feel great about my decision," Jones said. "I'm ecstatic. Words can't even explain how I feel."
During the official visit, Jones had a chance to sit down and talk with the Iowa coaches, who like his ability to be a downfield threat with good size for the wide receiver position.
Jones, who visited Iowa last week, said Iowa linebackers coach LeVar Woods played a huge part in his decision. Jones said Woods, of all the coaches recruiting him, kept in contact the most and made sure he was taking care of business on and off the football field.
“I love the fans there, to tell the truth,” Jones said. “Seeing Kinnick Stadium and the history of Iowa is what really got me. Knowing you can have 70,000, 75,000 fans every game, you can’t beat that. And then, you’re in the Big Ten Conference, which is one of the best conferences today. Going up against all those powerhouse teams, I could see myself doing that.”
Jones is a big target with good speed. He’s been clocked in the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.
“I’m ready to compete and earn that spot on the field,” he said. “The fans and the community are awesome. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I can see myself living there for the next 4-5 years and playing for all those crazy fans. It’d be an honor and a blessing.”
Scouting snippet (from ESPN.com)
The Possibilities: "Jones, who has run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, said he will take the visit to Las Cruces, N.M., the weekend of Dec. 14. While the Aggies are his first offer, Jones has received interest from Iowa, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, North Texas and Texas Tech, among other programs."
Here's a tidbit (from ESPN.com): Prior to receiving the offer, Jones had Iowa in for an in-home visit Tuesday night. He and his family welcomed [Iowa] linebackers coach LeVar Woods in his home, and Jones said the visit was beyond positive.
“He seemed pretty comfortable. He kicked his shoes off,” Jones said, laughing. “He was relaxed. He enjoyed himself, and I enjoyed his visit.
“He said he has to get back with his coaches about an offer. Everyone is out of state in different parts of the country. As soon as he gets back with them, hopefully, they’ll offer me.”
What Iowa said . . .
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: “He's a lot faster than people give him credit for. I think he's been timed in the 4.4s electronically. He's a big, long kid. We really feel, and if you talk to his high school coach, his best football is all in front of him. He's really a raw kid from a wide receiver standpoint. We know there's going to be a little bit of development there, but he's got a great attitude and a great family. LeVar getting to know him through out the process, again it was kind of the Josey Jewell story only in Texas. LeVar felt so strongly about him that he was a guy we ended up taking before the end because LeVar felt so strongly about him." Could you see him developing out of WR? . . . "I really don't think so. I think he's going to be a big, long wide receiver for us."
What Rivals.com said . . .
Snippet from post on his offer from Texas Tech: “The coach in the most contact with Jones has been outside receivers coach Sonny Cumbie. The DFW prospect said that he trusts the judgment of the former Red Raider QB, as he's been a division one signal caller in the past.
"He knows what to do, the work you have to put in, and stuff like that. He knows what he's looking for. He knows which athletes can play in a Tech uniform. He really knows what he's doing, and he has belief in me."
Jones is listed as an athlete coming out of the high school ranks, and it looks like the Tech staff would like to start him off at receiver. He's not sure quite sure if it would be on the outside or in the slot, but it doesn't really matter to him either way.
"They want me to play wide receiver," he said. "I'm thinking outside, but I can play both. I have the speed and the elusiveness to do it."
What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .
I asked about Jones possibly developing out of WR because of the influx of the slot types, with more compact builds, quick feet and tunnel screen potential. I might be reading too much into it, but it appears Iowa wants that outside receiver to be the kind of WR Iowa recently has had, ie Marvin McNutt, Keenan Davis. Or, maybe they also want that guy in the slot. What makes sense is having the tall, outside receiver who can post up for the fades and -- read this for reference -- and back-shoulder throws. (Iowa implemented the "back shoulder" into the offense, but did not execute it well.)