GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Dan Mullen scored a major recruiting win Wednesday with the signing of 4-star quarterback Emory Jones.
It was imperative for the Gators to land an elite signal caller in this class and Jones certainly fits that bill as the nation’s No. 4 dual-threat QB, according the 247 Sports composite rankings.
One week ago, Jones wasn’t even considered an option for Florida. But behind the scenes, Mullen had been talking with Jones, once he realized the Ohio State commit was looking around.
“After I got here I kind of reached out, touched base, because I think there was some familiarity between the two of us,” said Mullen, who offered Jones his first scholarship while at Mississippi State. “He was trying to feel his way around because he was committed elsewhere, with his future being that way, and I had just been named here. We had a quarterback committed here, and there were other guys that I was becoming familiar with.”
Mullen was aggressive during his first week on the trail, going in-home with Georgia pledge Justin Fields and reaching out to other committed quarterbacks. He also waited to visit former Gators commit Matt Corral, a move that many fans questioned at the time.
But Mullen wanted to consider every viable option at the position, and that included Jones, who attends Heard County High in Franklin, Ga. He first reached out to the Under Armour All-American on Dec. 4 and eventually had an in-home visit with him and his mother, Trina Jones.
“I had dinner at his house. I think there was another school outside; I made sure we ate all the food so there was nothing left for them,” Mullen said jokingly. “But no, we had a great visit with him and had a great visit with his mom. … I think it was really important when I went to his house and we sat down and had dinner that they felt comfortable.”
Mullen tried to establish that comfort level with all of his quarterback targets, but he and Jones already had a connection and it didn’t take long for them to get on the same page. Ten days before the start of the early signing period, Mullen received an encouraging text from Jones.
“[Emory] said, ‘Hey, you know what, when all is said and done, I’m your man, I’m going to help you win championships at Florida.’ You know, just when you see a text like that, that’s what I want to see out of my quarterback,” Mullen said. “Someone that has that confidence and that expectation, not worried about what jersey number or worried about a lot of the other stuff that goes on in recruiting. Someone who’s worried about coming in and doing what it takes to win.”
At that point, Mullen said he had a sense that Jones was ready to flip to the Gators. It appeared that Florida would be scrambling to find a quarterback after Corral backed off his pledge last Thursday.
Little did we know.
“I felt good,” Mullen said. “The thing that made me feel good is we had constant communication with him all the way to signing today, so there was never a break in communication … really in the last 10 days.”