May 7, 2013

Jones 'in shock' at dream offer from Vols

Fortunately, the offers rolled in late in the day. Otherwise, realizing part of a childhood dream was coming true on Tuesday would have made concentrating on school work awfully difficult for Jack Jones.

The standout offensive lineman at Murfreesboro Oakland and class of 2015 prospect added verbal scholarship offers from both Georgia Tech and Tennessee, the latter being the program Jones and his family long have rooted for. Jones touched base with UT secondary coach Willie Martinez, and Martinez made the offer on the Vols' behalf.

"I talked to coach Martinez, and he said they'd been talking about me. And then he said, 'We're going to go ahead and offer you.' UT, growing up that's been my team. I was just in shock," said Jones, also his class president and an honor student. "I didn't know what to think. I called my dad and he was excited. He's a big UT fan. Our family just felt very blessed, very thankful for what happened.

"It was surreal. It's been one of my lifelong dreams, one of the biggest ones and I was just, like I said before, shocked and so thankful. I was just thanking God. All I could think about was how long I've wanted that offer and how long I've wanted to run through the 'T' and what it would be like to play up there."

Jones said Martinez knew that Oakland had just scrimmaged the defending state champions Beech squad led by heralded Vols commitment Jalen Hurd, and Martinez used that information to set up the offer.

"Coach Martinez kind of asked me about scrimmaging against Hurd's team and if he had run all over us," said Jones, who stressed he felt the Patriots' defense held its own. "I said I love watching Jalen play, and he asked if I would like to block for him some day. It was very tempting to commit right then, but I wanted to talk to my parents and my family more and just pray about it more."

Nearly 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, Jones said he believed his performance at Sunday's In Full Motion/Playmakers Academy Tennessee Exposure camp helped, as did previous interactions with the Vols' coaches and his long-established work ethic.

"I think the IFM camp definitely played a large part in it, but I think they told me they had talked about it as a staff and (Vols line coach Don Mahoney) really liked me and that's why went ahead and offered me.

"It kind of happened at the end of the day. I was in a class where I had finished all my work when coach came and got me. It was only like the last 30 minutes of school. Our offensive line coach Matt Snow is a big UT fan and he's one of the ones who's helped me get where I am today. I'm really grateful to him and coach (B.J.) Oliver and our head coach (Thomas) McDaniel and strength coach (Chris White)."

In the midst of spring camp with the Patriots, Jones said he would maintain a focus on his current Oakland team and continue to pray about his college opportunities.

"It's been so crazy, I couldn't tell you [what's next]," Jones said. "I've got to talk to my parents more and just see what's going to happen. I've got two more years of high school and am in the middle of spring practice and I'm an Oakland player first and my team at Oakland comes first. They're my priority right now."


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