YEARBOOK: BRANDON JONES
Nacogdoches safety (6-0, 195)
HOW HE GOT HERE: Jeff Traylor, who won three state titles at Gilmer before joining the Texas staff, was in Jones’ recruitment, and maybe those East Texas ties paid off — Gilmer’s only 80 miles or so away. In fact, it was Traylor who got the midnight call from Charlie Strong on the eve of signing day, asking about Jones’ announcement. It came down to Texas or Texas A&M; both schools were on his initial top six last August, and Jones was in Austin for Texas’ 59-20 win over Kansas. His official visit was in mid-January, nearly two weeks before having face-to-faces with Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin one day and then Strong the next day, one week before signing day.
STAR RATING: 4
RECRUIT RANKINGS: Overall, 40th; Fab 55, 3rd, right above No. 4 Patrick Hudson (Silsbee OG, Baylor) and right below No. 2 Ed Oliver (Spring Westfield DT, Houston); Position, 1st
Jones was the highest-rated recruit in Texas’ class.
MILES TO AUSTIN: 240
AT NACOGDOCHES: Was a two-time all-state pick and an All-American as a senior, when he also played in the Under Armour All-America Game. His Nacogdoches teams went 22-14, with playoff appearances in 2013 and 2014. He was the USA Today’s defensive player of the year for the state of Texas in 2015. Jones also ran track, and was the anchor for the 800 relay that came in third at the state track meet his junior year.
2013: 95 tackles, 5 INTs, 8 breakups
2014: 30 tackles, 2 forced fumbles
2015: 124 tackles, 16 TFL, 2 INTs
Total: 249 tackles, 7 INTs
JONES’ BEST GAME — SO FAR: The best display of how Jones can impact a game came last October, in Nacogdoches’ 47-20 homecoming win over Jacksonville. Jones scored on two rushing touchdowns, including a 55-yarder, and added a third touchdown on a 35-yard punt return. And he picked off a pass as well.
THE NUMBERS GAME: As a senior, Jones scored 8 touchdowns between offense and special teams. He played in only 5 games his junior year because of an injury. Jones’ Texas Football magazine bio lists him with a 4.4 time in the 40. He picked Texas from 39 scholarship offers. Jones likely will wear 19 at Texas because that was his high school number, but says he plans to keep wearing a hand towel with the number 33 on it — that was his dad’s high school number.
THEY SAID IT: “He’s got everything. It’s not just all of the physical tools, but mentally he’s strong and mentally he adapts to things. He could probably play running back or receiver in college.” — Bobby Reyes, Nacogdoches coach
DID YOU KNOW?
1. Jones was one of two (Demarco Boyd, Gilmer) East Texas signees for Texas, but that number should grow in 2017. The Horns’ class for next year already has pledges from Liberty-Eylau (DE Lagaryonn Carson), Tyler John Tyler (WR Damion Miller) and Bullard (TE Major Tennison). Credit Texas TEs coach Jeff Traylor, who’s still revered in East Texas from his coaching days at Gilmer.
2. At Nacogdoches, Jones had hoped to wear No. 33 to honor his late father, Bert, who wore that number in high school at Lewisville. But a Dragons veteran teammate already had 33 when Jones was promoted to varsity three games into his freshman season. Instead, he settled on 19, which is what he’ll wear at Texas. Outgoing senior Peter Jinkens wore 19 the past few years.
3. Jones is one of four UT signees who played in the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando on Jan. 2. The others were offensive tackle Jean Delance, cornerback Eric Cuffee and linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch. In all, 19 Texans played in that game, which is considered the nation’s premier showcase for recruits.
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