The calls still come in from other schools, but Florida 2019 quarterback commit Jalon Jones has a stock answer he gives to recruiters now.
“I appreciate your time and I appreciate you thinking of me as somebody you want to coach, but I’m respectfully committed to Florida,” he says of his usual response.
Jones, who was initially committed to Dan Mullen and his staff at Mississippi State, de-committed following Mullen’s move to Florida and later gave his pledge to the Gators in April.
And he hasn’t wavered a bit since then. Jones, a 4-star dual-threat QB from Richmond, Va., was back on Florida’s campus last week to take part in the Gators’ latest camp and spend more time around the program. But that’s not to say his relationships with the coaching staff needed any further strengthening.
When Jones asked out his date for prom, Florida quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson was one of the first people he told.
“We text at least every day and we talk on the phone at least four times a week, and the same thing with Coach Mullen. We’re just in constant communication,” Jones said.
Jones, ranked the No. 7 dual-threat QB in the class by the 247Sports composite and listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, certainly fits the mold of a Mullen quarterback and was sold on the coach early, committing to Mississippi State last June, prior to his junior season.
Jones had heard the rumblings that Mullen might be leaving the Bulldogs, and he was in Starkville, Miss., for the 2017 regular-season finale against Ole Miss.
“I was actually down there for the Egg Bowl when they lost to Ole Miss so I had a conversation with him there, but of course he can’t really say, ‘I’m leaving.’ So then he came back [a couple days later] and he said he was leaving, so I announced my de-commitment that Monday,” Jones recalled.
After Mullen got settled in at Florida, he re-offered Jones.
“His message was still the same from Mississippi State, that he knows what I can do and knows what he can do to help my game,” Jones says.
And that’s why he considers his recruitment a wrap.
All that’s left as it relates to recruiting, he says, is his own efforts to build the Gators’ 2019 class. When he sees that Florida has extended a scholarship offer to a prospect, Jones is quick to track the player down and add to the sales pitch.
As for what he brings to the field, Jones describes himself as “a pocket passer that’s very athletic.”
In other words, the exact kind of quarterback Mullen has proven to have great success with over the years.
“What Coach Mullen does with his quarterbacks, he plays to their strengths. It helps a lot when they have a bunch of strengths that he can play to, running-wise and throwing-wise,” Jones said. “He believes I can do both pretty well so that just makes me a Swiss army knife.”
Jones passed for 1,025 yards, 11 touchdowns and 1 interception while rushing for 819 yards and 9 scores last fall, leading St. Frances Academy in Baltimore to a 13-0 record. (He’s transferring back to Henrico High School in Richmond, Va., for his senior season to be close to his family).
Fitting Mullen’s offense was a big factor in Jones’ college decision, certainly, but feeling like he fit in just as much with the culture of the program was every bit as important. And perhaps that best explains why Jones’ commitment seems as solid as any still six months away from being able to make his decision official.
“I think he loves Dan. People ask what it is. He can call Dan’s wife, Coach Mullen’s wife just as easy as he can call Coach Mullen. It’s crazy, they’ll talk on the phone,” said Michael Jones, Jalon’s father. “… People throw the term family around so glibly, but doggone, Jalon knows their whole family so it was an easy decision for him. I think that’s the cool thing. They really hit it off on a whole other level.”