January 25, 2009

Jones likes what he saw

Gainesville (Ga.) high school junior wide receiver Tai-ler Jones had been in pretty steady contact with representatives from Ohio State as of late, including a visit with coaches at his school Thursday, but Sunday he got to see what the school was all about for himself.

Ohio State didn't disappoint.

"It was great in my opinion. I got to see a lot of the campus through the player's view and not through like a general view that all the recruits get shown," Jones said. "I got to see all the places to eat, the market place, and I had a lot of one-on-one time with coach (Jim Tressel. I really liked everything I saw and heard today."

Jones spent time with freshman defensive lineman Keith Wells, who graduated last year from the same high school as the 6-foot, 174-pound junior wide receiver.

"I ate breakfast with Keith Wells, who graduated from my high school last year, and he was the one who showed me around," Jones said. "It is better (to go with someone you know) because they have been through close to the same stuff that I am going through. He went to my school and he can relate to me."

Perhaps the most valuable time spent during his visit today in Columbus was his alone time with Tressel, who spoke with him man-to-man about the opportunities Ohio State opens up for its recruits.

It was time that Jones really enjoyed.

"It was interesting because it was the first time I had any contact with him," Jones said. "He said a lot of things, in my opinion, that came off as speaking as a person and a family man and not as a head coach trying to get a recruit to play for his team.

"It just came off as a more genuine way of speaking," Jones added.

For Jones, despite his time at Ohio State, the recruiting process is still getting underway. Even though Jones enjoyed his trip to Columbus, he still said he has plenty of things to look into before moving a school ahead of another.

"My interest is still the same, it is just now that I have a broader look at the campus and the coaching staff and a broader perspective of what goes on and the life of being a player there," Jones said. "They are still equal with all the other schools that have offered. I haven't started to narrow down my list of top schools yet."

While that may be the case, Jones said the campus and the stadium would leave a lasting impression on his eventual decision.

"Because the campus is so big, that is a plus, because it is in the middle of a big city and there are people everywhere and a lot of different things to do," Jones said.

It was Ohio Stadium, however, that really impressed Jones.

"Before I didn't think it was as big and well kept up as it was, so when I was it was I impressed because they just did a 23-million dollar renovation on it," Jones said. "A lot of stuff was brand new, like the 100-yard press box they had up there. I have never seen that before and I have never been in a stadium with 105,000-plus seats.

"It would be a dream," Jones added of playing in the Horseshoe. "Personally I like playing in front of bigger crowds."

The visit to Ohio State capped off a busy weekend, especially since it came a day after a visit at Notre Dame. Visiting the Irish was extra-special for Jones, given his father Andre Jones played at the school and helped Notre Dame win the national title in 1988.

"It went good. They offered me a scholarship," Jones said of the Notre Dame trip.

While impressed with Notre Dame, he maintained that every school is still on a level playing field.

"Ohio State and Notre Dame are dead even," Jones said. "They both showed me everything they had to offer and everything I heard and saw I liked from both schools."

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at [email protected].

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