Uncommitted: Jarvis Jones
High school: Carver (Columbus, Ga.)
Size: 6-foot-3, 215
Tom Lemming’s Top 100: No. 13 overall (No. 1 ILB)
Finalists (alphabetical): Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas, USC
More Uncommited Updates: Dre Kirkpatrick, Trent Richardson, Jelani Jenkins, Rueben Randle, Devon Kennard, Kennard commits
By Mitch Stephens
Carver (Columbus, Ga.) senior Jarvis Jones is a big fast inside linebacker known for his instinctual play. He made an almost seamless position change from tight end to linebacker just two seasons ago.
“He can read plays before they even start,” said his high school coach Del McGee.
Jones also has a very high football IQ. He religiously studies game film and tendencies.
But there in lies the recruiting rub for the nation’s 13th most sought-after senior, according to CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.
He’s one of five in Lemming’s top 23 nationally who has yet to verbally commit before Wednesday's much-anticipated National Letter of Intent day.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder instinctually narrowed his finalists quickly, an absolute murderer’s row of college football heavy hitters – Texas, USC, Florida, LSU and Georgia.
Unlike most recruits, he actually made official visits to all five schools as well, the first on Halloween at USC and the last just two days ago to LSU.
Even with every one pecking at him to show his hand – and coaches pushing him to commit – Jones will not be prodded or rushed into making a decision.
By all accounts, nothing has come easy in this process for Jones.
“Jarvis is his own person and he’s going to make his decision whenever he feels like it’s the right time,” McGee told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There will definitely be some drama involved with his decision. The colleges won’t even know where he’s going until signing day.”
He’s not trying to be overly-dramatic or evenly overly secretive. But the more people try to pry, the more he naturally wants to stay private.
“He’s a real quiet kid,” said Lemming, who for more than three decades has traveled throughout the United States to see and meet all the players he rates. “He’s real confident, but in no way a braggart. I got the idea he wanted to play in a big city and stay closer to home.”
With four of his five finalists out of state, some believe he wants to get far from home, which would leave out Georgia. Only Jones knows for sure.
“I’m trying to remain humble about the whole recruiting situation,” he told the Journal-Constitution last month. “I like to stay out of the media, and keep it all under control because I know it’s a big decision.”
The more he attempts to remain private, the more the media and others attempt to guess.
Last week the Journal-Constitution asked readers predict where Jones – among others – would land. Of the 32 published responses, Florida got 16 votes, followed by USC (6), LSU (5), Texas (3) and Georgia (2).
Here’s our guess;
USC (8-to-1): It’s not only the furthest distance but, being his first visit, the furthest from his memory bank. The Trojans have already secured a pair of blue chip linebackers, though reports indicate that Vontaze Burfict will de-commit and go to Arizona State.
Texas (6-1): Jones had great visit two weeks ago to Austin and loved the Longhorns, who have secured just one blue chip linebacker in Tariq Allen (MacArthur, Irving, Texas).
LSU (5-1): Very similar positive visit to his Texas trip, but its slightly closer to home.
Georgia (4-1): The most vital element of all recruiting is making a prospect feel wanted. No school could possibly go after a lad harder than the Bulldogs, who reportedly unleashed six assistants at Jones before head coach Mark Richt spent more than five hours with him last week.
Florida (3-1): Rumors have swirled that Jones has already “quietly” committed to national champion Florida, ones refuted by McGee. Still it appears the best fit.
Final take: Being such an independent thinker, Jones could go in just about any direction. His choice may be the most intriguing of all the uncommitted.
E-mail Mitch Stephens at email@example.com.