xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

First impressions weren't forgotten when it came to Marco Jones' recruitment.

The Boys' Latin rising senior – who sat out the 2008 season after transferring from Mount St. Joseph – joined his Lakers teammates for a camp at the University of Richmond last summer. There, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Jones first met Mike London, the Spiders' second-year coach.

Advertisement

"I thought he was a great guy. I always thought he was a really nice guy ... a really cool, down-to-earth guy. He looks like a father-type figure to his players," said Jones, who was offered a scholarship by London that day.

Jones, a three-star prospect according to Scout.com, didn't give much thought to playing for the Spiders. But once London was hired away from Richmond by Virginia after the 2009 season, the Cavaliers soon vaulted to the top of Jones' list of schools. On Sunday, during an unofficial visit to Charlottesville, Jones committed to Virginia.

Advertisement

"Coach London asked us if anyone wanted to commit. And I said, 'Yeah.' I told my mother I felt comfortable, so I did it," Jones said. "He was really excited. He told all the recruits. He stopped everyone and said 'We got one.'"Jones picked Virginia over offers from Connecticut, Duke, East Carolina, Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers, West Virginia and Stanford.

Boys' Latin coach Ritchie Schell was surprised Jones' decision came so early in the process, but he wasn't at all surprised by the choice.

"It's absolutely what Marco wanted," Schell said. "I thought he was going to wait a little longer, but what can I say? It's a great choice. [He'll play for] a great coach that'll turn them around. … [London] picked [Jones] out and brought him alongside and worked with him for 20 minutes [at the Richmond camp]. So they established a rapport last year and then he took the U.Va., job, watched film again and thought he was pretty good."

Last fall, Jones recorded 40 tackles and four sacks for the MIAA B Conference runner-up Lakers. He had spent the previous year on Boys' Latin's scout team while sitting out because of transfer rules. Once he hit the Lakers' lineup, a few things became apparent to Schell immediately.

"[He's got] speed, size, tenacity," Schell said. "He can probably get up to 270, easy. He's [240] right now, and when he gets into a college weight program, he can be a little bit of a hybrid linebacker. He's a five-technique defensive end on the outside. He's an intelligent kid and he's got good character."

Jones will join a Virginia program that has suffered through its fair share of struggles on the field in the past. But Jones said London believes his first full recruiting class will go a long way toward changing the ACC's landscape.

"He said that we are a very special class – the class that will turn around the football team," Jones said. "It'll be the start of a new beginning."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement