Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy is loaded once again. One of their key cogs offensively will be running back Tony Jones. He transferred to the boarding school from St. Petersburg Catholic a few months ago.
"The transition has been nice," Jones said. "The school work is definitely different than my old high school. It's more of a college set up. That took some getting used to. The training is also different. The training is really good here."
One of the allures to IMG is playing for Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke. Here, Weinke and his staff run an NFL offense.
"Coach Weinke is such a nice guy," Jones said. "He's so mart. He's not much of a rah, rah guy. He's not a guy that's always going to be yelling. But he's so smart with the game of football. And I love the offense he has. It's an NFL playbook so I know I'll have the upper hand in college."
Jones, 6-foot-0, 217-pounds, is a two sport star. He plays everywhere in the outfield and hit .360 in his first baseball season at IMG while playing a demanding baseball schedule. He started off batting ninth and worked his way up to No. 3 in the lineup over the course of the season.
Some believe that his future does lie in baseball. Others think it will be football. This is a big and powerful built north-south running back prospect with game breaking speed. Jones has power to run through people, good hands and he can be a huge asset in the passing game.
Jones ended up starting as a freshman at St. Petersburg Catholic. He was Ryan Green's (Florida State) backup but then Green got hurt just before the regular season started and missed the entire season. Jones rushed for over 1,000 yards that year and 1,500 last season.
Right now, Jones has scholarship offers from Cincinnati and South Florida. He's also getting strong interest from teams like Florida, Louisville, Wake Forest, FAMU, Syracuse, South Carolina and other. Last summer he camped at Miami. This summer Jones will camp with the Gators (June 8th) before going on the Unsigned Preps bus tour, which will hit schools like Georgia, South Carolina, Clemson, and a handful of others.
"We are hoping to catch Florida State sometime in July," said Tony Jones, Sr., his father. "That way we will have seen each team here over the past year. I know [Florida] coach [Brian] White really wants him to get up to their camp on the 8th."
While the first half of next month is packed with visiting schools and hitting some college camps, the remainder of the summer for Jones will consist of baseball and working out.
There's no question that Jones will be one of the most sought after running back recruits from the Sunshine State in the next class. This kid can do it all and should be a big weapon for Weinke this fall and beyond.