Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with Ohio State quarterback commit Emory Jones.
Emory Jones still strongly considering Alabama
FRANKLIN, Ga. — Ever since Emory Jones was 5 years old, it has just been him and his mother, Trina, living in the same house after his parents separated. That age also happened to be when Jones got into football.
Jones, a 4-star quarterback who’s committed to Ohio State, started playing the position when he was 5. On Wednesday, he officially accomplished one of his football dreams by being honored with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey.
Jones’ mother knew her son may have a future in football when he transferred to Heard County High School in the eighth grade.
“Emory tossed a 75-yard ball in eighth grade,” Trina Jones told SEC Country. “It wasn’t captured on anyone’s camera; I couldn’t find it, but I wish I could. That’s when I knew he was different. We went to a camp one time and he played in a game and someone walked away and said, ‘Oh, he just has raw talent.’
“So, I said, ‘What does that mean? Is raw cool? Is raw like, he’s bad?’ So I asked someone because I wasn’t sure from a football perspective. So, I looked it up and I talked to someone and they said it means he’s just athletic; he doesn’t have mechanics. That’s the moment I put him in training and he soared from there. He picked it up very quickly and he took off from there.”
Jones is now ranked as the nation’s No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class and is a major target for Alabama. The Crimson Tide will need to flip Jones from his commitment to Ohio State, though. Jones has been committed to the Buckeyes for more than a year now. It’s the school he’s been dreaming about representing for several years now.
“Ever since [former Ohio State quarterback] Braxton Miller started playing, he’s always been an Ohio State fan,” Trina said. “I have family all around Ohio. From Cincinnati to Dayton to Cleveland to Columbus. We have family in the area, and in Pennsylvania, so we’ve traveled the area frequently. Ever since Braxton Miller [played for Ohio State], that was his favorite player.”
The part about having family in Ohio is important to note. With Jones living in Georgia, Ohio is obviously not around the corner from him and his mother. There have been some rumblings that there are some people in Jones’ inner circle that want him to stay closer to home when he ultimately signs with his college of choice. Emory told SEC Country that his grandma, perhaps jokingly, tells him how she wants him to choose a school closer to Franklin, Ga., so she can see him play in all of his games in person.
Emory’s mother doesn’t have an issue with Ohio State being so far away from home.
“I don’t care [if he’s closer to home],” Trina said. “I just want him to be where he’s going to feel like there’s a connection, where he fits in, where he can be happy. He’s going to go through some challenges. He’s going to have that. The closeness would’ve been so that I could’ve been close enough to support him through things he will endure while he’s in college. Not because I don’t want to travel there. My job requires me to travel every day. It’s nothing for us to jump in the car and drive there.
“I’m already planning around, if that’s what I have to do; I’ve already mentally started prepping for ‘am I going to drive to these games, if I am going to prepare to fly these games.’ The distance is not a problem.”
After talking with Emory’s mother, I came away with the impression that she is 100 percent on board with her son attending Ohio State. She has actively reached out to parents of current and former Buckeyes players. She specifically mentioned speaking to current Denver Broncos safety Bradley Roby’s mother frequently.
All of the parents of the Ohio State players she has talked with have said that the program turned their sons into men by the time they left. That’s the most important thing to her.
It’s clear that both Emory and his mother love everything about Ohio State and what the Buckeyes have to offer, but the Under Armour All-American still hasn’t decided to completely shut down his recruitment.
Alabama’s continued pursuit of Emory Jones
Ohio State coaches have told Jones repeatedly that they want him to shut down his recruitment and stop taking visits to schools not located in Columbus, Ohio. He has gone against their wishes.
Jones secretly visited Tuscaloosa over the summer for one of Alabama’s summer camps. At first, he denied being on campus to reporters AND Ohio State. He came clean a few days later while at Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp. During that visit, the Buckeyes’ staff sat down with their future quarterback and asked him if he was fully committed to playing at OSU, which Jones said he was. But, he’s still maintained his desire on wanting to take visits elsewhere.
“Some of these visits are just for the experience,” Emory said. “Some of my officials will just be for the experience just to go there to say I did. Later in my life, I probably won’t have the chance to go visit different colleges and get the full experience. I didn’t get to visit a lot of places before I committed, and I would like the chance to do so.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect was in attendance for Alabama’s season opener against Florida State and plans to return to Tuscaloosa this fall for an official visit. Outside of Ohio State, Alabama is the only school Jones is for sure going to officially visit.
Jones said he’s in contact with Alabama nearly every day and has liked what he’s seen out of the offense.
“I have seen some progress in their passing game,” Jones said. “Jalen Hurts has definitely progressed as a passer. Last time I went there [this summer], I worked out with him and threw with him. I could tell that he progressed. He knows the offense and is more comfortable in the offense this year. That’s definitely good.”
It’s important to note that the most important person in this recruitment other than Emory himself, his mother, said she has only had minimal contact with Alabama.
She has been with Emory on one of his visits to Tuscaloosa. The first time they went, which was last year, he didn’t have an offer from the Crimson Tide. The Joneses left without talking to Nick Saban. Trina Jones estimates she talked to Lane Kiffin for maybe 5 minutes. That was it.
She has talked to Saban since her son was offered by Alabama earlier this year, but she has felt a stronger connection with Ohio State since Day 1.
“He answered all my questions,” Trina Jones said. “It was my first conversation I had with him, so he basically just gave me the rundown of his program for the first time in the middle part of this year. I felt like he answered all my questions, but I haven’t done a campus visit— not a full, complete visit.”
If Alabama wants any shot at flipping Jones, the team’s connection with Trina will need to improve. That’s the most important person in Emory’s life.
“My mom is definitely my best friend,” Emory said. “I talk to her throughout the day. After my games, she’s always the one that picks me up. Sometimes, she’ll coach me on things that I need to work on. She always gives me tips. My relationship with her is very close. When I’m at home with her, we just sit down and talk about life and the future.
“I think about [providing for her] almost every night before I go to sleep. I see how hard she works every single day to provide for me. She leaves the house early in the morning and comes back at 8 o’clock to provide for me, so I can do the things I want to do. I feel like when I get the opportunity to bless her, she’s going to get everything she’s ever wanted.”
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