UCF is finally on the board with its first commitment of the 2014 recruiting class.
Running back Chris 'C.J.' Jones of Port Orange Atlantic apparently committed last week to the Knights, but news finally got out this week.
“They love him over there. They liken him a lot to Kevin Smith who was there before,” Atlantic coach Tim Smith said Wednesday. “C.J. likes to run the ball, he’s a downhill type kid who has great vision.
“It’s close to home for him and his family will get to see him play and it’s a good fit for everyone.”
Jones, 5-foot-11, 180-pounds and the No. 40-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2014 Central Florida Super60, ran for just over 1,000 yards last season and had 10 touchdowns. He also caught 24 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns.
"When I went to the campus to visit it just gave me a home feeling and the coaches all had a good personality and they have a good system there," Jones said. "I really like the way they run things and my dad was impressed with that, and I was impressed, and it didn't take long for me to decide that was the college for me."
He was on the recruiting radar early in his career and North Carolina State actually offered him a scholarship shortly after he ran for almost 1,000 yards (996) as a freshman, but a turf toe injury slowed his progress after that.
Jones missed six games his sophomore year, during which he ran for 756 yards. He said he had higher hopes for last season and wasn't exactly satisfied with his numbers, but Atlantic did manage to make the playoffs and finished 8-3.
"I guess I did OK," Jones said. "I felt I could have done better in some games and I wasn't really satisfied."
The Sharks will be losing most of their offensive line this season, but Jones is not concerned.
"We have some transfers coming in and a few other younger guys," he said. "They might not be as tall as they were last year, but I think they'll be faster.
"I'm looking to do big things my senior year. I'm trying to beat the school record for rushing and touchdowns."
He didn't know those exact numbers, but he'll know come next season. And if he has a big senior year, that could make it difficult for the Knights to keep him at home.
"It will be hard and right now there is a good chance I will end up going there," Jones said of UCF. "But I do have my mind open. My senior year I'm looking for big things to come."
If he sticks with his UCF commitment, the Knights plan to use the versatile Jones in a variety of ways.
"I really want to be the best runnig back who ever went there and get past what Kevin Smith did when he was there," Jones said. "They said I'm more of an all-around type back who can run through the holes or stay back and block, and I have the speed to also get outside and I have good hands. I can do all kinds of different things and they won't have to take me out in situations."
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun