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Handful of Schools Sticking out for RJ Jones After De-Committing From Cal

The talented Southern California defensive back had been committed since Ferbruary.

BELLFLOWER, Calif. -- High school football season is in full swing across the country and many of the top prospects in the 2023 class made it a point to wrap up their recruitments before the Friday night lights returned. However, for Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco safety RJ Jones, he decided last week it would be in his best interest to back off his commitment to the Cal Golden Bears, one that dated back to February.

"It wasn't an overnight decision, it actually took about three to four months," Jones told SI All-American. "Me and my family we sat down almost every night and talked about what my future would look like and the future of what our family would look like."

Although his decision had been in the works for months, a recent development caused him to slow things down.

"For me, rumors going around with conference switching and stuff like that," he said. "I see all these schools switching and that whole process made me want to just take a step back and look at everything, keep my options open."

Even though he's back searching for a new home, the defensive back still views Cal as a contender.

"Cal is still in my top schools, so nothing but love for them. Coach Tre (Watson), Coach Terrence (Brown) and those guys, they made it a real hard decision for me."

Other schools in the Pac-12 and beyond continue to hit up the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder.

"Now USC reaches out and Oregon reaches out," he said. "Schools like that, they are keeping my options open so it makes a better decision for me at the end."

The Colorado Buffaloes are another school to monitor.

"Armond Hawkins, he was at USC, he was my lead recruiter up there, now he's at Colorado. We hop on the phone, we text a lot. Arizona, Louisville, too."

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The Cardinals have set up shop in Southern California in recent cycles and don't appear to be slowing down, with multiple St. John Bosco players already in Scott Satterfield's 2023 haul. With so many teammates in his ear, it sounds like Louisville will surely have a say before all is said and done.

"We got a lot of Louisville commits here so they're probably my lead recruiters right now with DeAndre, Aaron (Williams), Jahlil (McClain) and Pierce (Clarkson)," Jones said. "Those guys they won't ever leave me alone about it. Louisville, I would say probably is in the top just because of how close I am to the guys committed to there."

USC has also thrown their hat in the ring with geography on their side.

"The culture there I would say that they've built since before I was even born has never changed," he said of the Trojans. "Dante Williams, he's been recruiting me since my freshman year when he was back at Oregon. Him being from the LA area -- he's a real close guy, he's a real cool guy and I love love Dante."

The Oregon Ducks are in the mix, led by a coach Jones has a history with.

"Coach Demetrice Martin he's actually I would say a real close family friend," he said. "Cole Martin he's committed there. I call him my uncle. Coach Meat he's been coaching me my whole life. Playing for him wouldn't be too bad just cause I know what he expects and I know he knows what it takes to get people to the NFL which is my ultimate goal."

As he navigates the recruiting trail a second time, Jones isn't holding himself to any specific timeline for a decision.

"What I'm prioritizing is just taking my time and not rushing this process," he said. "I feel like my last recruitment I kind of rushed it. I had a set date. I will still take five official visits during this season. I'm not sure where yet. I would love to make a decision before December, but if not February is the goal."

On the topic of visits, Jones has a number of schools he's interested in seeing when things open back up after the dead period.

"There's a couple where I'm still in the works with it like I said with Oregon. I think I might want to take one to Louisville and also either Washington, I know Devin Bryant he's a commit here," he said. "Also Oregon State. It's my dad's alma mater and even when I was committed to Cal they stuck with it throughout the whole time. When a school does that you have nothing but respect for them."