Texas defensive back Brandon Jones (19) celebrates his interception with teammates and coaches during the win over Oklahoma in October. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Football

Sugar Bowl notebook: Texas S Brandon Jones considering a possible NFL future, too

Georgia also has a quarterback examining a transfer; Charles Omenihu believes Texas can get to the CFP soon

Posted December 30th, 2018

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Story highlights
  • Jones: “I had a lot of good feedback when I submitted my papers to see where I stood and stuff.”
  • Texas isn’t the only school dealing with quarterbacks wanting to look elsewhere.
  • P.J. Locke III has his first experience at the blackjack tables in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS — Texas safety Brandon Jones said Sunday he’s received information from the NFL draft advisory board and will consider his future after the Sugar Bowl.

Jones, a junior from Nacogdoches, had his best season this year with 66 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss and two interceptions despite playing in just nine games. At times, he was the best player on the field, showing terrific closing speed and tackling in open space.

Jones did not say what grade he received, “but, yeah, I had a lot of good feedback when I submitted my papers to see where I stood and stuff.”

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“I haven’t decided officially,” Jones added. “I’ve really just been focusing on this game and focusing on Georgia. I want to be able to get with my family and coaches before deciding something.”

Texas safety Brandon Jones (19) downs a punt on the 3-yard line during the fourth quarter against Baylor at Royal-Memorial Stadium in October. [RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Jones and receivers Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson are all considering whether to return as seniors or go pro. Johnson was the only one of the three to admit the NFL draft advisory board indicated he should stay in school.

Every draft-eligible player should want to know where he stands to make the best decision possible. The advisory board typically leans conservative. Every UT underclassman was told to stay in school last year, but all of them left. None was drafted as high as initially projected.

“We’ve had a close relationship with the guys who decided to declare last year,” Jones said. “Everybody has their own reasons why, so you really can’t fault them or question why they did what they did. Overall, you just have to make the best decision for you and just go with it.”

Quarterback watch: Texas isn’t the only school dealing with quarterbacks wanting to look elsewhere. Georgia backup Justin Fields, the No. 1 dual-threat prospect in the 2018 recruiting class, has put his name into the NCAA transfer database to explore his options.

Texas freshmen Cameron Rising and Casey Thompson have also put their name in the database. Fields, Rising and Thompson are all at the Sugar Bowl preparing with their teams.

“I don’t know that anybody could sit up here and truthfully tell you exactly what they’re going to anticipate taking place in the next three or four years with the advent of the new rules and the transfer stuff going on,” Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. “I don’t know.”

Georgia starter Jake Fromm sidestepped most questions about Fields but admitted that every player’s situation is unique.

“You can’t put everyone in a box,” Fromm said. “I think it is unique. Everyone is going to do them, and for us, the only thing we can do is respect their decision.”

CFP review: Texas defensive end Charles Omenihu wasn’t all that surprised by Alabama’s and Clemson’s victories in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Omenihu also expected Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray to play well. “He showed out, which wasn’t surprising to me,” Omenihu said.

So now the question becomes how long will it take for Texas to be among the top four teams?

“I don’t think we’re that far away,” Omenihu said. “I think Texas will be there pretty soon. The talent level, we’ve got to match a little bit more, if we’re keeping it real over here. That’s really it, man. We’re a few plays here and there away from having one or two losses on the season. I definitely think Texas will be back in that pretty soon.”

Double down on 11: The Longhorns have been given the freedom to explore downtown New Orleans while on this trip. Defensive back P.J. Locke III got his first experience in a casino.

“Man, the first night I went and just walked around,” Locke said. “Every time I’ve seen a casino, it’s always on TV. I just went in there and tried to figure it out.”

Locke said he was intrigued by blackjack and downloaded an app to learn how to play. He went back again and won $70 while playing the $10 minimum tables.

“I was in there maybe about 15-20 minutes,” Locke said. “If you stay in there a little bit longer and get too greedy, you’re going to start losing money.”

Texas defensive back P.J. Locke III acknowledges the crowd as he is announced during senior night presentations before the game against Iowa State in Austin on Nov. 17. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Time to eat: Jones said he, quarterback Sam Ehlinger and defensive back Josh Thompson got a bag full of beignets and quickly had powered sugar all over the hotel room floor. “It was really good, though,” he said.

“Beignets, my first time eating those, had those yesterday. Amazing,” Jones said. “Big fan of étouffée. Great. Jambalaya, I’ve never been like a huge fan but it was pretty good. Always got to get some gumbo while you’re down here.”

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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