Emory Jones signed with Florida during the first day of the early signing period on Wednesday, but there was a time period when the nation’s No. 4 dual-threat prospect looked like he was Alabama bound.
“Oh yeah. Definitely. When I was committed to Ohio State, there was definitely a time when I wanted to go to Alabama,” Jones told SEC Country.
“There was just something holding me back from going there. I never knew what it was. I kind of just felt iffy about it. I didn’t want to make that move just yet, so I went and got some other information about other schools.”
Jones took an official visit to Alabama the weekend after the Tennessee game. He said it was at that point where he believed that he was going to end up playing for the Crimson Tide.
“I was just telling myself that I really want to go here,” Jones said of Alabama. “I felt like Coach [Brian] Daboll would have really developed me. I felt like it was a great place for me. There was just something holding me back. I still haven’t figured out what it was.”
Throughout that time, though, Jones remained committed to Ohio State. Florida got into the picture on Dec. 4, the day SEC Country wrote this story on if he would be interested in the Gators if they reached out to him. Three days later, the Buckeyes got a commitment from 3-star quarterback Matthew Baldwin. Once that happened, Jones says, Ohio State started to lose contact with him and he knew that it wasn’t going to be the school he ended up signing with.
There are going to be some Alabama fans who think it’s almost unbelievable to choose a school after it was recruiting you for just two weeks. But Jones had a longstanding relationship with Florida coach Dan Mullen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson. Both of those coaches offered Jones his first scholarship two years and seven months ago while they were at Mississippi State.
Jones lost contact with Mullen because he said the coach told him that he believed that he was solid with Ohio State, which is what the quarterback was telling the media. Once Mullen reached back out to him two weeks ago, Florida overtook Alabama as the favorite.
“It was just crazy how God put that in front of me for Coach Mullen to come back in my life at this time,” Jones said. “He offered me my first scholarship, so it’s crazy for me.
“And it’s always been a great relationship with [Coach Johnson], since the beginning. When I was committed to Ohio State, he always checked up on me and asked how I was doing. So him coming back into my life, it’s just even better. We have grown so much together and I feel like it’s a great place for me.”
There were always going to be some challenges for Alabama when it came to quarterback recruiting in the 2018 class, and after offering numerous quarterbacks throughout the year, it finally looked like the Tide had their guy in Jones.
Jones admitted that Alabama having three young quarterbacks on the roster was something that made him pause.
“It definitely played a part,” Jones said. “Jalen [Hurts] and Tua [Tagovailoa] and Mac [Jones] are young guys. I knew I had to come in and compete anyway, but I didn’t know how it would all play out if I went there.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect told Alabama this past Sunday that he we wasn’t going to choose the Tide when he signed.
“I told Coach Ansley and Coach Daboll when I was at Florida State that I wasn’t going there [to Alabama],” Jones said. “They were just saying that they appreciated me giving them their time and opportunity to recruit me.”
Now that Jones is officially off the board, Alabama fans should expect James Foster, a 4-star prospect from Sidney Lanier High School (Montgomery, Ala.), to become the main target. Foster is down to Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Texas A&M. He won’t make his decision until National Signing Day on Feb. 7.