BRADENTON, Fla. — Alabama quarterback commit Mac Jones admits he most likely would have ended up at Florida if the Gators had offered him a scholarship. The Gators decided not to offer him a scholarship because they have a commitment from Jake Allen, who committed to Florida a year ago.
Having the opportunity to play for your home state was important to Jones, a 4-star prospect from The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.), but he never was given that opportunity.
Now Jones is one of the Crimson Tide’s best recruiters and is trying to convince one of the state of Alabama’s best players to stay home. Nico Collins, a 4-star from Clay-Chalkville High School (Pinson, Ala.), who is one of Alabama’s main wide receiver targets in the Class of 2017, has been trending away from the state with Georgia, Michigan and Clemson pulling ahead.
Jones told Collins on Friday to stay home and represent the Yellowhammer State.
“I actually like to use the Florida analogy,” Jones told SEC Country at the IMG 7-on-7 national championships. “If you’re given the opportunity, because I was never given this chance, to play for one of your in-state schools, you have to take that and represent your state. It’s easier for your family to watch you play. I just think it would be much easier to stay home.”
Jones understands that Collins may just want to leave Alabama to experience something new. The Crimson Tide does have its work cut out in order to land a commitment from Collins, who is planning on committing on National Signing Day in February.
But if Jones has his way, Collins will be a member of the Crimson Tide on that day.
“Sometimes kids just don’t want to stay home and you can’t stop that,” Jones said. “If he told me that, then I would just say, ‘OK, that’s fine. Go find the best fit for you and make sure you feel at home away from your actual home.’ He always knows that if he stayed in Alabama, people would know him and he’d pretty much be famous.”
The quarterback flipped his commitment from Kentucky to Alabama earlier this month after what he said was one of the best decisions of his life. He quickly became enamored with the school and fell in love with the campus. He is hoping Collins, who was once considered a strong Alabama lean, regains the love Jones has felt now that he’s a part of the Crimson Tide family.
“I’m just really trying to get those players to come out to see how special of a place Alabama is beyond the football field,” Jones said. “You want to help those people out that are looking at other schools. I just feel like it’s my job to help present the facts to help with their decision.”
If Alabama misses on Collins, its other main wide receiver targets are 4-stars: Devonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs. Alabama already has a commitment from 4-star WR Tyrell Shavers.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.