Recruiting Update: Christian Jones (linebacker)

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.

T.J.’s Prediction:
Tough call, but it looks to be a race between Alabama, Florida, or F.S.U.

24 Comments

Add Yours
  1. 1
    DAMAGE INC.

    Seems like he had an awful lot to say about Alabama — I don’t buy the Notre Dame gig (shouldn’t they build a dome? LMFAO!) — no way he’s going to Gator Nation over the Florida State connection — it’s either Alabama or Florida State — sounds like Alabama — at least he could get some hardware with Alabama.

    If you read stuff like this dude — that Crimson will yield success. Don’t deny yourself. Imagine success at the Collegiate level and THEN the NEXT LEVEL. That’s something we’re good at — pro-style formations with RESULTS. ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!

  2. 2
    Paul

    Rumor from the FSU boards is he’s working hard to fix his academics (as you would have noticed if you’d read between the lines of your own interview), because he wants to go to Notre Dame. You can laugh at us all you want, we’ll laugh at ourselves too – as we walk away with your linebacker.

  3. 3
    wes

    CJ loves ND and he knows he will be a major star playing nest to Manti Teo for 3 years. CJ knows that this is a 40 year decision. I’m amazed that people from the south are always shocked when ND rolls in and actually gets big time players out of Fla and Ga. CJ picks ND on signing day!!

  4. 4
    Bama Fan in NYC

    Paul, it’s a rumor, even by your own admission.

    Now watch as the unexpected (Florida State) ultimately snag the kid, stunning us both. 😀

  5. 7
    travis

    It’s looking like Notre Dame all the way.Who could blame the kid with the world the way it is you need to look at the bigger picture and that’s 40 years after football.

  6. 9
    Paul

    “Paul, it’s a rumor, even by your own admission.”

    Well what’s not a rumor – as it comes fro the kid’s own mouth – is that he’s doing work, a lot of work (if you look it up) to get his academics up. And if you think about it a bit, and look at the teams he’s looking at, the only school he’d have to do that for is Notre Dame – whom he also explicitly mentions he would have to get his grades up for.

    I’m not saying he picks us, just that there’s a lot there to suggest his interest is very serious.

    And I actually think FSU would be stunned if they didn’t get this kid. He’s a legacy.

  7. 11
    Paul

    No, Zach, I didn’t think that, because I looked at his grades, and the grades it takes to be a Bama football player, and his grades are good enough. He’s doing credit retrieval work to qualify for Notre Dame. Now that doesn’t mean he’s GOING to Notre Dame – but it means he’s very seriously considering them. He wants to be able to choose them.

  8. 12
    DAMAGE INC.

    Whenever Notre Dame realizes their insane “Ivy League” approach to academics — they will be battling for a shitty bowl game in December year after year.

    Football players don’t give a shit about academics — it’s merely an inconvenience to their ultimate goal. Sure there are some who want their degrees (Team B and the athletes who absolutely know they are not going to the NFL) … but it all boils down to what goes down on the field.

    He’s not going to gloomy hell-hole of Notre Dame.

  9. 13
    T.J.

    Like I said in the interview, the main and maybe the only reason that Notre Dame is on his list is because of Coach Afford! Thats what I took from our conversation. Christian probably doesnt have the acedemics to meet N.D. high standard either. He is already on track to qualify to meet Alabama’s standards. This may not mean anything, but Christians good friend and Lake Howell Home Coming Queen, Katie Robinson, will be attending Alabama next year along with several of Christians friends! SO hopefully they will be trying to get Christian too follow them to T-Town! All I know is Lake Howells football team hasn’t won many games and Christian said a goal of his is to get a National Title Ring! But Notre Dame, Get Real!
    I will be profiling a upcoming Jr. Stud, Josh Goodman in the following week or so. He is a 4 star Athelete that plays with Christian at Lake Howell! Roll Tide

  10. 14
    THE HAMMER

    GETTING A JUMP START ON COLLEGE WORK IS APPLICABLE TO ALL SCHOOLS….DID NOT SAY HE WAS TRYING TO GET GRADES UP TO QUALIFY AT ND…………..HIS MENTION THAT BAMA WAS TOP 25 SCHOOL ACADEMICALLY MEANS IT IS DOWN TO FSU OR BAMA – FO SHO.

  11. 15
    TJ

    Response to wes: Get Real Bro! If he were choosins solely on a 40 year decision, then Alabama with Nick Saban being the man preparing, mentoring, and teaching not only Football and how to get to the next level, whether that be the NFL, coaching, or just graduate! Shouldn’t be too hard in the to land a job with Nick Saban as a reference. (Miami and Louisiana may be a bit different)LOL

    wes Says:
    January 20th, 2010 at 10:53 pm
    CJ loves ND and he knows he will be a major star playing next to Manti Teo for 3 years. CJ knows that this is a 40 year decision. I’m amazed that people from the south are always shocked when ND rolls in and actually gets big time players out of Fla and Ga. CJ picks ND on signing day!!

    I want to 1st say that I believe that Notre Dame is one of the greatest College Football Programs of All Time and I have a lot of respect for ND and I will say that if Christian Jones played in the 60’s,70’s , and 80’s, they may have had a great chance to land Christian Jones. But let face the facts, the year is 2010! Bama just won the National Title and Notre Dame will be lucky if the win 20 games over the next 4 years.
    If Christian or any other recruit chooses to go else where after having an opportuniy to go play for
    Alabama then we don’t need those players. Bama will win a title by 2012. Next year will be hard because of all the tough road games.

    Something I realized to the other day is that if you’re a Top Blue Chip Prospect it seems there is a rule that Notre Dame has to be one of the schools on their list!

  12. 16
    Arthur Gustav Malzahn III

    I dont understand why all this fuss is made about recruiting.
    At Auburn we dont even have to talk to recruits to get them to sign with us. They cant wait to jump on the Gus Bus.

    I havent spoken to the first prospect yet. Nobody on the coaching staff has.
    Pat Dye just says: “Smile, shake their hand, and thank them for choosing Auburn….. We’ll do the rest”

  13. 17
    Crimsonite from the planet Crimson in a galaxy far far away. FormerlyE.G. White

    First of all moron, he’s not our recruit for you to steal. His ties are to FSU. 2nd. Notre Dames’ standards for athletes are stupid and they have kept several outstanding coaches from coming there because they don’t want to be hamstrung in recruiting. 3rd. High entrance scores don’t mean shit relative to the actual education received. I’ll put Bama’s top degrees against Notre Dames any day. And at Bama you aren’t bugged by all that irrelevant Catholic bullshit. 4th. He wants a ring. At Bama, he’ll get one this year even if he were to be redshirted. At Notre Dame or FSU he will never get one. 5th. Although we have depth everywhere, we did lose 3 starting LB’s. And D’onta Hightower and Nico Johnson prove that true freshmen LB’s can start at Alabama. So, I don’t know what’s in the boys head. But with him wanting a ring and education meaning a hell of a lot less than a pro football career, he’d be a fool to turn down an opportunity to play in Sabans’ pro defense. RTR!

  14. 19
    Ttowndick

    First of all, I’m old enough to DESPISE notre dame. My favorite painting is C. Bennett taking Beurlein’s head off.

    Don’t know what Fisher will do at FSU, but if he want’s to be irrelevant and hang out with ugly girls, he’ll go to the snow.

    If he wants to go in the first round, he’ll come to Bama.

    As to the grades and work he’s doing, don’t be stupid. At Bama, players (11) are graduating and coming in early. Also, like McElroy, if they are redshirting, they are loading up on hours for their second year.

    RTR

  15. 20
    Paul

    I love you people saying ND’s academic standards are stupid. You live in fucking Alabama! Of course you think academics are stupid. You’re stupid Republican inbred hicks.

  16. 21
    Crimsonite from the planet Crimson in a galaxy far far away. FormerlyE.G. White

    Funny, you retarded, inbred, pig fucking, yankee, carpetbagging, faggot bastard, but I was under the impression that the South was Democrat and the fucking yankee faggots were Republican. But that’s alright though cum breath, since there’s been a major political change in the past 30 years and now the Democrats (Jackasses) are nothing but a bunch of fascist, socialist pieces of shit. You can have the bastards. We’ll take the Republicans and their awesome symbol (Elephant)! I’ll put our Med and Law schools up against anything the Golden Gnome has any day of the week. Our QB has been asked to apply to be a Rhodes Scholar. How many of those do you have on the Golden Gnome team asswipe? Oh by the way pig fart. Do ya’ll even remember what a National Championship is? I fucking doubt it. And you won’t be finding out any time soon either. Losers! RTR!

  17. 23
    nick chick

    give me a break..notre dame is not even in alabamas league any more. they lay down and refused to go to the bowl game they were invited to. what was that? i call it stupidity. they gave some lameass excuse as to why they couldn’t go. because they fired charley?

  18. 24
    nicksucker

    (Nicksucker didn’t have anything to say in this post other than repeating the same profanity over and over.)

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