"My senior season I was being heavily recruited by Purdue and that is where I thought I was going," added Jay Jones when asked how he landed at N' West CC. "I talked to them weekly my junior and senior seasons but our team kept losing so they kind of quit calling me there at the end (of my senior year). I started getting a look at some lower D1 schools like Southern Illinois and Murrah State but they wanted me to make up my mind a couple of weeks before signing day, and I was not ready to do that so I ended up signing with Mississippi Valley State. I reported there in July, but after spending my first night there, I decided it just did not feel right so I went back home. N' West CC told me that they would still take me so I went over there instead."
That decision ended up being a good one. Jay was named 1st Team All-Region 23 after leading N' West CC's squad in all-purpose yards (over 1,700) and rushing (943 on 82 attempts) and touchdowns (11).
"When I got to N' West they told me they had a sophomore running back, Calvin Malone, but that I could get into the rotation. I did not get over there until late July so I was cramming everything in a hurry. Calvin started the first game against Pearl River CC but after that game I had the starting role from there on out."
N' West CC made a run at the national championship as they were ranked in the top five nationally all season until getting defeated in the playoffs but Jay learned a lot about himself during the process.
"I came from Horn Lake so I knew I was a good player, but I also knew I was under the radar because our team was not strong and my size (5' 6", 185). But when I got here and got around guys like Jamal Mosley and Myles White, I was still making an impact so I knew I belonged. Those two will be in the league one day, and I was still one of our main playmakers in this offense and that's hard to do when you have those two in your offense. They are the real deal (laugh)."
Has his lack of height always been an issue?
"In high school it was always a negative, but when I got up there, they turned it into a positive. They were like, just get lost behind our big offense line and turn it up for a touchdown. They just like me to get lost and use my speed when I get into the open field."
Speed has never been a problem for Jay as he ran a 10.58 in track his senior season.
"That's what God blessed me with. He might not have given me the height, but I have just as much quickness and speed as any back in the country."
Jones earned his first D1 scholarship recently when Ole Miss came in contact. Jay went over to the Oxford campus last week to check out the campus.
"Me and OL Donald Hawkins went over there last weekend. He is also being recruited by Ole Miss so we both went over there. Their running back coach (Derrick Nix) was sounding good, but I am a juco player so I do not have time to sit. I just went down there to see how their depth chart was looking. Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis are graduating and they will have Jeff Scott and Kevin Thomas returning. Coach Nix said it would be no problem for me to get into the rotation because I am a playmaker and have speed so playing time would be no problem. I really do not know though. I am going to have to go over there for a spring practice to see for myself. I spoke to Jeff Scott for a while in their IPF and he was telling me what all they were doing in the off-season, but we did not go over the on-the-field issues. They start practice after spring break so I am going to go over there next week for one of their practices and see it for myself. They are talking pretty good though."
Jay attended a couple of the Ole Miss games with his teammate and Rebel signee, Jamal Mosley, earlier last season.
"There really was nothing else on my mind when I went on my trip to Ole Miss because I already went down there to see them play Fresno State and Auburn. Jamal (Mosley) told me a lot about it so the only question I had was their depth chart. That was really the only thing on my mind because Jamal had already answered the rest of my questions. He told me that Ole Miss is a good place to play because they give you a chance to prove yourself and that their players were not arrogant. They were all down-to-earth, and he said that most players in the SEC kind of stick their nose up at the recruits because they are all arrogant but the Ole Miss players show you respect and treat you as one of them. That told me all I needed to know about how well I would get a long with their players so really all my questions were already answered before I went on the trip except for their depth chart."
The coaches at Ole Miss also stood out.
"I really like their coaches. They stood out a lot. Coach Nix greeted me and Donald in the parking lot when we drove up and he showed me a lot of respect and love. All of their coaches already knew who I was and they were telling me about my film and how hard I ran. Even their defensive back coach knew all about me and that caught my attention. I could tell that I was pretty important to them and that really stood out the most."
Who are some of the other schools involved?
"MSU, Arkansas, La Tech, and Troy."
What's going on with MSU?
"They were Donald's first scholarship offer after his freshman season so he has been keeping me up-to-date about them. One of their fans was upset at Donald on his facebook page. He was made because Donald visited Ole Miss with me, but he explained that he went over there because I had an offer. That guy then facebooked me and started telling me about how their coach had coached some guys my size like Chris Rainey and some smaller tailbacks while he was at Florida. That kind of caught my attention and then their wide receiver coach facebooked me and asked me to send him some film. He told me that he heard that Ole Miss offered me and he wanted to check me out. Their WR coach said he wanted me to come over to one of their spring practices, and he was going to come over to one of mine. He said they could really use some more speed and he wanted to check me out."
"I had a conversation with Coach Peoples the other day. He had been emailing and facebooking me a lot too. He said I was a good player and he would hate to play against me. Coach Peoples said he heard I had been talking to Ole MIss and Mississippi State so he wanted to come watch me practice. He just kept saying that he does not want to play against me."
La Tech inked his teammate, Myles White, this past February and are eying several Rangers.
"They said as soon as me and Donald Hawkins and Terrence Evans come over there we are going to get our offer but I have not heard from them in maybe a month. Donald says he still talks to them and we are supposed to over there April 2nd."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org