Editor’s note: Regular blog reader and recruiting follower T.J. Walls scored an interview with Christian Jones and his high school coach, and wanted to share it with readers. He called me yesterday afternoon to let me know Saban would be doing an in-home with Jones, and here is an update on the latest developments. Enjoy.
Recruiting Update by T.J. Walls
Christian Jones Linebacker, Lake Howell High School (Castleberry Florida)
Tuesday around lunch Nick Saban was at class 5A Lake Howell High visiting one of the top Linebackers in the country, (6’4 228) Christian Jones. According to his head coach Tom Oliver, the visit went very well.
“Coach Saban just has a certain presence that very few people have. I felt like I should have been taking notes. He was showing myself and Christian about their complex defensive schemes and the man is a genius. Coach Saban and Christian really had a good time talking about where he could fit in at Alabama. So it went great, but Christian is going to pick the School that suits him the best and I really couldn’t tell you where that’s going to be.”
With a very few scholarships available, Nick Saban and the staff are on the road trying to put the finishing touches on another class that figures to be one of the nation’s best. So even though next year’s squad will be without several starters due to Graduation and early departure, the Tide should be in good shape to contend for the SEC and possibly the BCS title again.
One player that will not be on next year’s team will be Butkus winner Rolando McClain and pass rushing specialist Eric Anders . Christian could be a great candidate to help out with several positions.
Q&A with Christian after Coach Saban left the Jones house for an in home visit and dinner.
Weight Room numbers: Bench 325 Squat: 435 Vertical Jump: 35
40 yard dash 4.58 – 4.6
1. How long have you considered Alabama?
C.J.: “Since I took my official visit during the L.S.U. weekend. I loved it. The stadium was huge and next year it will be ever bigger with the expansion. Alabama’s fans were the craziest I’ve seen. They were tailgating at 8 in the morning. It was an awesome visit. Coach Saban and I had some good one-on-one time and we talked mainly about academics and what he expects out of his players. But, we did talk a little bit about where I’d fit in on defense. I also went to Coach Saban’s House and he showed me Lake Tuscaloosa. Coach Saban doesn’t beat around the bush. He’s serious and he means business. He pushes you and can definitely help you get to the next level. Oh, he will make you work, but I’d love to play for a coach like that!
“Really the 3 or 4 times we have hung out he’s been very serious, but tonight at the house I saw a different side to Coach Saban. He was cracking jokes and being funny. I thought that was cool and my family really like him and believe that I could learn a lot about not only Football, but life. So the day was great!”
2.Did you form any relationships with any of the Bama players?
C.J.: “Oh yea. Ed Stinson was my host, so we are really tight. I also hung out with Tana Patrick and Mark Ingram. Mark was a great guy. I also became friends with Alabama commitment (OL) Chad Lindsey.”
3. Who is the coach from Alabama that is recruiting you?
C.J.: “Coach McElwain is mainly the coach that’s in charge of my area and we have really formed a bond. He’s awesome.”
4.So Where does Alabama stand at landing you and what other schools are in the mix?
C.J.: “Alabama is an amazing place for me both with athletics and academics. I believe it’s a top 25 school. So I believe it would be a great place, but I have 7 schools that I’m considering and they are all even as of now. Florida State is the school that I grew up on. My dad and brother played there, but it will not factor in on my decision. The other schools are Florida, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and U.S.C. ( In no order).”
5.Are you going to take any more visits?
C.J.: “Yea I’ll be going out to U.S.C. to visit in the next week or so. Coach Orgeron recruiting me before he and Coach Lane leftTennessee and want me to come play for them out there.”
Christians Thoughts on the remaining schools on his list:
F.S.U.: Grew up loving the Seminoles. Dad and Brother played there.
Florida: Great program-They have an awesome Defense- loves Coach Meyer- Urban told Christian that he will be back as head coach for the season.
Tennessee: Very Loyal fans-Waiting to see what happens there.
Oklahoma: Great Program-Stoops is a great man.
Notre Dame: “The assistant Coach Afford is the coach that I’m closest out of all the coaches. He is very organized and has studied me . He knows my basketball schedule and my favorite food. He really wants me at Notre Dame, but I have to raise my grades because the standards are higher.”
6.What will factor into your decision?
C.J.: “I’d like to play for a defensive system I’d fit in. We ran a 5-2 defense at Lake Howell and I played Outside Backer. Also academics will be huge in my decision. Football doesn’t last forever so I’m going to get my degree. Distance will not play a factor.”
7. Today where did Saban tell you that he plans to use you if you end up at Alabama?
C.J.: “He would like to see what I can do at Middle Linebacker at first.”
8. Are you qualified yet?
C.J.: “Yes, my G.P.A. is 2.8 and I scored a 17 on my ACT. I’m about to take some college credit classes to get a jump start.”
Evaluation: In my opinion, this kid is the real deal and a true 4.5 to 5 star.
I don’t believe he will play middle backer if he ends up at Alabama. I believe he would be the perfect fit for the Jack Linebacker position. Incredible off the edge and amazing third down pass rusher. He would be a bigger version of Eric Anders. Christian Jones is also good in coverage. Just a freakish athlete for a big man. Played some running back and Receiver in high school as well.
Tough call, but it looks to be a race between Alabama, Florida, or F.S.U.