Shroud of secrecy
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"I'm going to take some official visits and stuff," Jones told SI.com after the Under Armour All-American game Jan. 5. "I'll go out and see what I like, what I feel comfortable with."
That, in a nutshell, was Jones' plan for January and the first weekend of February. Expecting more? Don't. The nation's top receiver prospect and his camp have shrouded his recruiting process in secrecy. Even the hard-working reporters at Rivals.com -- who probably could sweet-talk
Jones declines most interviews, and his trusted advisors provide information on a need-to-know basis. For example, Watson disputed a since-retracted report in the
Eyewitnesses have provided news of Jones' whereabouts. He was spotted at the Florida-Kentucky basketball game in Gainesville on Jan. 19. Sunday, he was spotted at the Oklahoma-Georgia women's basketball game, confirming an official visit to Norman, Okla. That means Jones has visited Alabama (Dec. 7), Florida State (Jan. 9), Florida and Oklahoma. That leaves one more weekend before national signing day to take one more visit. So where is Jones headed? Nowhere, Watson said. Jones has narrowed his choice to four finalists.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Jones intends to announce his decision on Signing Day, and if he and his camp can keep the news a secret until that time, the big reveal may shut down every office in the South, or at least every one in his home state. Alabama fans are counting on Jones to be the crown jewel of the recruiting class they think will bring them back to glory. Meanwhile, in the Sunshine State, Florida fans envision Jones lining up opposite
Those fans hopefully will have to wait another nine days to learn where Jones will catch his college passes. He and his family have worked for months to allow him some privacy as he makes a potentially life-changing decision, so it only seems fair that he is allowed to reveal his choice on his own terms. I'm not recommending every prospect go into the bunker during the recruiting process -- what would I write about? -- but for a high-profile player such as Jones, the scrutiny may have been too much had he made his recruitment an open book. But even after he announces his choice, don't expect Jones to hold an hour-long press conference to break down his decision.
"He's always very humble," Watson said. "He doesn't like talking about himself. ... All this attention has kind of turned him more inward and made him more introverted."
No matter where Tahlequah (Okla.) Sequoyah High quarterback
"There's not a whole lot of Native American athletes on scholarship," said Stanley, who threw for 32 touchdowns as a senior. "I want to get up there and be a good role model."
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford also is a registered member of the Cherokee Nation. His great, great-grandmother on his father's side was named
Stanley also has visited Maryland and Florida Atlantic, and he plans to visit Oregon State this weekend before he decides where he will sign.
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