All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year Ray Jones of Eastern Tech, and his teammate, two-time All-Metro wide receiver Anthony Lawston, have orally committed to full scholarships to Villanova and Georgia Tech, respectively.
The two student-athletes last season led the Mavericks of Essex to a school-record 12-1 mark, a Class 3A state runner-up effort in only the program's second -state playoff appearance. The Mavericks earned a No. 2 area ranking and a No. 15 ranking in the Associated Press state poll.
A 6-foot-3, 225-pound running back who rushed for 2,201 yards and 30 touchdowns, Jones, 16, orally committed to a full scholarship to the University of Buffalo during the preseason.
But as the season progressed Jones got better and more recruiters showed interest. Jones, who carries a 3.4 grade-point average and scored 960 on his SAT, canceled a visit to Virginia Tech after last weekend's trip to the Villanova campus in Philadelphia.
"I like the whole area, and the fact that it's close to home. I liked the players, their facility, their weight room," said Jones, who rushed for 544 yards and four touchdowns in three playoff games. He gained 198 yards and two touchdowns in the title game loss to Friendly of Prince George's County.
"They said I might be redshirted, except in the case of someone being injured," said Jones, who runs a 4.7-second 40-yard dash and never lifted weights or played football prior to high school. "It will help me, give me time to get bigger, stronger and faster."
Ranked No. 6 nationally during the preseason by The National Recruiting Advisor among wide receiver prospects, Lawston, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, turned down more than 10 full scholarship offers. Penn State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Syracuse and Virginia Tech all were in the running.
A Florida native, Lawston also attracted interest from Pittsburgh, USC, Michigan State, N. C. State, North Carolina and Illinois.
"I was basically comparing Maryland and Georgia Tech," Lawston said. "I visited Georgia Tech on Dec. 4, and I liked their facilities, their academic support, their computer science and engineering programs."
Lawston, whose No. 80 jersey was retired by coach Nick Arminio, ends his receiving career with 152 receptions for 2,992 yards and 25 touchdowns. Also, in the past two seasons as a defensive back, Lawston has 19 interceptions, five of which he returned for scores.
Pub Date: 12/16/98