Defending Class 5A Florida state champion program Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage High School retained plenty of talent from the 2020 program, and Marvin Jones Jr. ranks the highest of the bunch as the No. 8 prospect in the country.
The defensive end, son of former NFL and Florida State linebacker Marvin Jones, has racked up more than 30 scholarship offers as senior in the recruiting class of 2022. As he navigates the process, fall visits to contending programs are to play paramount.
Jones was at Georgia over the weekend for its dominant win over Kentucky and met with Kirby Smart before departing.
"Athens is a great place, from what I've seen," he told Sports Illustrated. "The team is a bunch of dogs, they really work hard. I met with Coach (Dan) Lanning and Coach Smart before I left. They let me know they have a lot of guys leaving, I think four, at the position. Basically, they really need me, honestly.
"It means a lot coming from the number one team, the number one defense in the nation, that they want me to help keep that going."
The trip was an unofficial visit, built around the game day experience at Georgia. Last month Jones took his first official visit, multiple days on campus on the program's dime, to Oklahoma. The Sooners edged out West Virginia with the coveted pass rusher on campus.
"It was definitely an amazing experience, I loved the game day experience and the fans with the passion they have for their team," he said. "Got to see the city, meet with the players, talk to them before and after the game. Everything was smooth at Oklahoma. Seeing them win the game was probably the best part."
Recruiting pitches vary dependent on winning status, location, or any connection the coaching staff has or builds with a top target. For the OU angle, the top defender on the roster happens to be from the same county, Broward, as his potential replacement.
"Seeing what a guy like Nik Bonitto has done up there stands out," Jones said. "Giving him a chance to get to the NFL...we're from the same place and I feel like if I go there I can play his position really well. We went out after the game, he was kind of just showing me around. He wasn't too pushy, he wants me to look at my options."
The list is long for Jones, who will take an official visit to Ohio State next weekend surrounding the Penn State contest. Alabama gets its shot the following weekend with LSU in town and Florida State hosts him with rival Miami, another contender on the list, in Tallahassee.
The newest blue blood targeting the senior is another in the ACC, Clemson. The Tiger staff offered in mid September.
"They're definitely a school I've always been interested in, so it's cool to finally have the offer," he said. "They have a long history of guys in the NFL, so I can't wait to get up there."
In breaking down why the group of schools chasing his signature exists, Jones cites positional development and the chance to make it to the NFL as priorities with most. The scheme and the local area are also under heavy consideration ahead of a decision, reemphasizing the importance of each trip.
Winning on Saturdays has been common for many looking for Jones' commitment, but it's not black and white, he says. Florida State and Miami, in particular, have been down on the field but remain pointed in the right direction at his position.
"Teams are going to lose, that happens," he said. "But seeing a team not trying to change things or with a losing attitude, that's not the place you want to be. Sometimes they're going through rebuilding phases, coaching changes.
"Florida State, their defense really allows defensive ends to shine and make plays. You see Jermaine Johnson, leads the nation in sacks. They put their D-line in position to make plays. Miami has done a good job developing guys, Coach (Jess) Simpson has done a great job. Those things are keeping those teams alive for me."
After the gauntlet of recruiting visits, a decision is likely to come around the Early Signing Period, which opens December 15.
Jones, who could graduate from high school before the end of the year, will lead America Heritage against Boynton Beach (Fla.) High School on Friday night.