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Thursday, August 25, 2011
Spartans pick up 3-star TE recruit 14 for 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ohio -- When looking at the team picture of the Ridgewood football team it isn't hard to pick out Evan Jones.
Jones, a senior tight end and defensive end, stands 6-foot-6 and weighs in at 244 pounds.
That size and athleticism has enabled Jones to verbally commit to Michigan State University to play football next fall.
"I went to the spring game there and just really loved the atmosphere and the coaches," Jones said... (click read more below)
Michigan State recruited Jones as a big power athlete.
"I'm pretty sure I will be an offensive guy but as to what position it will depend on what can get me on the field the quickest," Jones said.
Last season, Jones had just 10 catches for 93 yards with three of those grabs being for touchdowns. On defense, he made 59 tackles, including 14 for a loss and six sacks.
"He is one of, if not the best, blocker we have ever had here," Ridgewood coach John Slusser said. "He just destroys people up front and the one thing about him is that there is no ego. He is just a great kid that is extremely coachable."
Jones is the 14th commitment in MSU's 2012 class and the second tight end -- Josiah Lewis of Greentown, Ind., is the other.
The receiving numbers may not be gaudy, but Jones hopes it may change this season.
"Hopefully they throw the ball to me a little more but Ridgewood is known for running the football," Jones said. "Michigan State uses their tight ends a lot for blocking in the running game so that's something I will definitely be used to."
This marks the second straight season a Coshocton County athlete -- Coshocton's Zack Shaw did the same with Indiana -- has committed to a Division I football team prior to the start of his senior year.
"The whole recruiting process is a lot of work," Jones said. "I just wanted to get it done and put it behind me so I could focus on our season this year."
The Spartans are coming off a 2010 season that saw them share the Big 10 championship with Wisconsin. Ohio State also had a share of the title, but later vacated their wins in a self-imposed punishment in response to NCAA violations.
"This is definitely going to be a big jump for him to go from Ridgewood to play for the Big 10 champs," Slusser said. "The whole community is proud of him and it is a great opportunity for him."
As big physically as Jones is, his impact on his teammates is just as big.
"Evan can be vocal when he needs to be but he is more of a lead by example kind of guy," senior Dakota Albertson said.
"He has always been a hard worker but this year you can really see that extra work he is putting in."
Jones said the extra work is not only to get ready for college but to help the Generals continue their tradition of excellence.
"Part of my harder work is getting ready for the Big 10, but the bigger part is getting ready for this season," Jones said. "Our schedule is a lot tougher this season so all of us need to be working harder."
Playing in the Big 10 will afford him the opportunity to play in places like Ohio Stadium, Michigan Stadium and at Notre Dame.
"I've been to a lot of spring games and the facilities and atmospheres everywhere are just awesome," Jones said. "It is going to be a crazy experience."
Jones, the son of Troy Jones and Amy McQuiston, plans on majoring in either engineering or graphic design.
The one thing his family didn't do was try to persuade him on his college choice.
"My family didn't try to tell me where to go and even if they had I probably wouldn't have listened," Jones said.
"I am the one who will have to deal with the decision I made and I am confident that I made the right choice for me."