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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

By Sammy Batten

RECRUITING THUMBNAILS:  2006  •  2007  •  2008

Scotland star finds his spot at ECU

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.


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Clemson, N.C. State and North Carolina all offered Adrian Jones a scholarship to play cornerback for their football teams.

Lucky for East Carolina, Jones prefers wide receiver.

A multi-purpose player at Scotland High School in Laurinburg, NC, Jones chose to play for ECU instead of those Atlantic Coast Conference programs because the Pirates want him as a receiver. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder becomes the 10th member of the ECU class and is the ninth from an in-state prep program.

ECU running backs coach Junior Smith reeled in the commitment soon after Jones played what would be his final game of 2007 on October 19 against rival Richmond County. Jones fractured a bone in his right foot after making a 7-yard run when a Richmond player fell on him.

“I had told them way before my injury I was going to commit to them,’’ Jones said. “I think they were already counting me as a commit, so when I called to do it officially they said it was fine with them and everybody was happy.’’

“They were recruiting me at the position I want to play," Jones added. "Every other school wanted me as a corner. But they’re recruiting me as a receiver and that’s where I did my damage in high school.’’

Actually, Jones has inflicted damage from a number of positions since he started playing the sport at the recreation level. He was a natural at the sport, taking after his father, Steve Williams, who starred at Scotland High as a running back in the 1980's. Williams was also recruited by the Pirates out of high school, according to Jones, but he never signed.

The game came easy to Jones when he got started in recreation ball.

“It was something I was good at immediately because I was fast,’’ Jones said. “I really wasn’t caught many times when I had the ball in my hands. If I had the ball in my hands you could usually count it as a touchdown because not many kids could catch me at that age.’’

Jones gave up football briefly as he advanced through middle school when he moved to Charlotte for a time. He returned to Laurinburg for the second semester of his eighth grade year and the following season earned the job as starting quarterback for the Scotland High junior varsity.

Moving up to the varsity as a sophomore, Jones saw his first action as a wide receiver. But he didn’t move into a prime-time role with the Fighting Scots until the following season when he shifted back to quarterback to help fill a team void.

Jones emerged as a dual threat, passing for 1,050 yards and six touchdowns, while rushing for another 783 yards and five more scores.

Playing quarterback gave Jones a chance to display the exceptional speed that would eventually grab the attention of college recruiters. He’s been timed at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash and is the defending Mid-Southeastern 4-A Conference champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Jones’ best times in those events are 10.59 in the 100 and 21.2 in the 200.

“He’s fast, and he’s not just small and fast,’’ Scotland coach Mark Barnes said. “He’s about 5-10, but he’s strong in the weight room. I think that’s the thing that makes him capable of playing so many places.’’

Barnes used Jones at running back, wide receiver and as a kick returner this season. Despite the foot injury, Jones still managed to accumulate 667 all-purpose yards (208 rushing, 139 receiving, 177 kickoff returns and 143 punt returns).

Jones missed four games – two regular season and two playoff games – due to the injury. He’s now on the mend, but still on crutches. The cast was removed from his foot on Monday morning and he’s scheduled to begin rehab in “two or three weeks.’’

The process is probably going to keep Jones from running track this spring.

“I’m going to try it, but if they (doctors) don’t allow me I won’t run,’’ he said. “But I do want to defend my titles.’’

Adrian isn’t the only Jones who contributed to Scotland’s 10-3 finish this season. His younger brother, Daeshawn, was a starting cornerback for the Fighting Scots before being sent to the sidelines himself with a hyper-extended knee.

Also starring for Scotland this year was linebacker Terrell Manning, who has made a verbal commitment to N.C. State and wide receiver Wilson McLaurin. Jones said ECU is also actively recruiting McLaurin, a 6-2, 175-pounder.

“It’d be pretty fun if they signed both of us because we play well together,’’ Jones said.

Scotland has been a hotbed of college football talent in recent years, producing Division I-A signees like defensive ends Travian Robertson (South Carolina) and Byron McKnight (South Carolina), kicker Jay Wooten (North Carolina), quarterback Cam Sexton (North Carolina) and defensive end Hilee Taylor (North Carolina).

Jones is now part of that fraternity. He’s scheduled to make his official visit to Greenville sometime in January and he’ll begin his indoctrination into the ECU offense at that time.

“I’m excited to get started,’’ he said. “I really wanted to be a receiver. That’s where my heart is. So I guess you could say I’m following my heart.’’

[View thumbnail sketches of other players verbally committed to join ECU's recruiting class of 2008.]

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11/28/2007 02:17:31 AM


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