Earlier this week, 2024 athlete Jonathan Echols announced his plans to reveal his future college decision on July 4th. Echols holds over 30 Division 1 offers, with opportunities to play either tight end or edge at the college level. Prior to the announcement, the elite athlete previews the finalists with Sports Illustrated All-American.
It is still 18 months until he is scheduled to sign with a college program, but as Echols rounded out a busy off-season, including stops at Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida, he was already checking off boxes that made him comfortable in making a decision early on.
"I really just found my home," Echols said on why he feels he was able to reach a college decision early in the process. "Being able to talk to my parents, having their support, and end this process early all really helped."
Echols's decision will come down to Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, and Tennessee. Below is why he considers each school a finalist.
On Alabama: "They put guys in the league. They have always been a great program as I was growing up. Being able to talk to those coaches about being a part of their program is a huge reason why they are a finalist."
On Georgia: "They are the home state program. Being able to watch them as a fan while growing up as a kid was really big. Being able to communicate with the coaches and knowing they want me to play an edge in their defense was something I could see myself playing."
On Florida: "Florida is a great school that is not that far from home. They want me to play both sides of the ball and that is pretty big. I have always liked Florida growing up as a kid. I like them and Georgia growing up. They have always been a top program for me.
On Miami: "I went on a visit to Miami, and it was incredible. Being with my guy Samuel M'Pemba, we had a great time. It was just amazing. They originally wanted me to play defensive end, but then they switched and told me I could play whatever, so that was big."
On Notre Dame: "They have a great education. I am a 4.0 student so that was huge being able to know they are interested in me. They want me both as a tight end and defensive end, and they will let me choose what position I play."
On Tennessee: "Close to home. Great school. Great staff. Being able to play for Coach Golesh and Coach Heupel as a tight end in that offense could be huge."
As Echols gets ready to provide one of these schools with some extra fireworks on Independence Day, the talented prospect knows what the school of his choice will get in him as a player.
"The school of my choice will be getting a player that can play every position on the field," Echols said of what one of these finalists will get in him. "I transferred to IMG Academy in January, and back at my old school, Heard County (Ga.), I played every position on the field. I am versatile, a smart student that can learn everything on the field."