Velus Jones has vastly different feelings about Alabama and Tennessee.
The Crimson Tide has yet to extend a scholarship offer to Jones, a 3-star receiver from Saraland High (Saraland, Ala.). That’s turned into a head scratcher.
“I’m not sure what’s going on with Alabama,” 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver told SEC Country. “If they offer, they offer. I just have to pick the best school for me.”
Jones told SEC Country earlier this month that Alabama’s coaches encouraged him to keep working hard, especially in postseason all-star events, as they continue to evaluate him. Things have gotten more complicated since then.
Alabama received a commitment from 4-star receiver Trevon Diggs from The Avalon School (Rockville, Md.) on Nov. 7. Diggs is the second receiver prospect to commit to Alabama for the 2016 class, along with 3-star prospect T.J. Simmons from Clay-Chalkville High (Pinson, Ala.).
Alabama is thought to be in good position with a handful of other highly-rated receivers. That has made things tough on Jones, who is committed to Southern California in April but is clearly considering other options.
“I’m going to sleep well at night,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me one bit. If they want me, they want me. If they don’t, they don’t.”
Southern Cal fired coach Steve Sarkisian earlier this season, and has yet to name a permanent replacement. That, along with Alabama’s uncertainty about Jones, has him considering other schools. Tennessee has made a strong, recent push.
“I really, really like Tennessee,” Jones said. “They’re high on my list. All the coaches are great guys. I just can’t wait to get up there.”
Jones said he’s gotten to know several people at Tennessee. He is primarily being recruited to Tennessee by passing game coordinator/receivers coach Zach Azzanni and linebacker coach Tommy Thigpen, who has strong recruiting ties in Alabama. Jones said he’s also friends with Tennessee redshirt freshman linebacker Gavin Bryant, who is from nearby Jackson, Ala.
“I have good connections with everybody,” Jones said. “I’m just ready to get up there and see the place.”
Jones said he’s planning a visit on Nov. 28 but declined to name the possible destination. Tennessee hosts Vanderbilt on Nov. 28. Jones will take an official visit to Oklahoma on Saturday.
“I know they pass the ball a lot,” Jones said of the Sooners. “They’re a really good team and they have a real good coaching staff so I’m interested in them. I just have to see how everything is up there. I haven’t been up there.”
Jones isn’t letting the uncertainty of his recruiting process get him down.
“I would say it’s nice because people don’t have the opportunities I have in life,” he said. “I’m just going keep working regardless if they (Alabama coaches) offer or not.”
Jones had originally planned to take an unofficial visit to Starkville, Miss., to see the Alabama-Mississippi State game. He said he cancelled that visit and has no other visits currently scheduled.
He is rated the No. 69 receiver in the nation and the No. 12 prospect in Alabama.