March 25, 2009

OSU makes Jones' final cut

As one of the most coveted wide receivers in the nation, Gainesville (Ga.) high school junior wide receiver Tai-ler Jones racked up over 30 offers. Obviously a good problem to have, Jones was able to recently narrow down his list two seven.

After weighing the highs and lows of each of the schools - which obviously took a while give the magnitude of interest Jones drew - the wide receiver is down to Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, and North Carolina.

"It was very tough (to make the decision)," Jones said. "It took me a very long time and a lot of hard thinking to decide which schools to cut and which one to keep."

However, the schools that did end up making Jones' cut all had some similarity, which is why the wide receiver decided to keep the collection of schools on his list.

"They all are kind of alike. Those offenses are receiver-friendly and throw the ball half the time or more," Jones said. "They also have some of the best broadcast journalism departments.

"Academics is very important because there is a life after football," Jones added. "I want a degree that will help me succeed in the business world once I hang up my cleats."

While that may be the case, Jones admitted after his visit to Columbus that he knew Ohio State would make the final cut, which has been some time now despite the recent announcement of his reduction down to seven schools.

"After I went up there and got to see the campus first hand and talk with the coaches and meet them, that's when I was sure they were going to make my top list," Jones said.

Among all the talks with a countless amount of coaches, Jones has been able to stay in steady contact with Ohio State's Paul Haynes.

"We talk almost every week through email," Jones said. "He keeps up with me and sees how everything is going and always asks when I am going to get back up there."

Following are tidbits of what Jones thinks of every school that was fortunate enough to make his final seven:

Ohio State - "Ohio State runs a form of the spread and it is a city in itself and you don't have to go far to enjoy yourself during your free time. "

Georgia - "They run a balance offense and it's a pro-style offense which will help me be able to excel at the next level."

Notre Dame - "Notre Dame is a unique college in itself. It is unlike any other college out there. They don't have fraternities or anything like that, which separates the student body. (My father going there) is a little bit of a factor so I can follow in his footsteps and go to that college and excel, but at the same time I am going to chose where I want to go and what makes me happy."

North Carolina - "They have one of the best degrees that you can get from a college and they run a pro-style offense that throws the ball more than a normal team would. With their new coaching staff, most of them have NFL experience."

UCLA - "They have one of the best broadcast journalism departments and with Norm Chow I know they are going to throw the ball."

California - "They produce good wide receivers and put them in the league like DeSean Jackson and they also have one of the better broadcast journalism departments."

Stanford - "With coach (Jim Harbaugh they throw the ball and their degree is probably the best you can get from a college. Their degree is up there with Harvard and Princeton and I know I wont have too much to worry about when I graduate with a Stanford degree."

Jones has a trip planned for North Carolina this weekend then will make it out to the West Coast during his spring break to see the remainder institutions on his list. Jones wasn't sure if he would take second trips to Notre Dame or Ohio State, but said he remembers enough from their visits to make a good decision.

Either way, Jones doesn't plan on making another cut of schools, but committing to one when he comes to the final decision. Despite saying he wanted to commit on his birthday, July 19, Jones said the commitment will come earlier than that.

"I will compare what I gathered from (my visits) I will be able to chose a school and commit," Jones said.

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

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