St. Frances All-Metro quarterback Jalon Jones announced Saturday that he has committed to play football for Florida.
The dual-threat quarterback originally planned to go to Mississippi State, but when coach Dan Mullen left the Bulldogs to take over Florida's football team in November, Jones decommitted. After considering several other programs, he opted to follow Mullen to Florida.
"It feels great," said Jones, who told Mullen on Saturday morning that he was committing to Florida. "If Coach Mullen had stayed at Mississippi State, that's where I would still be committed to. I'm fully 100 percent — 1,000 percent — sold on Florida."
Jones, who plans to major in business, said he didn't look at Florida immediately after Mullen's move.
"I was wide open," he said. "I wasn't really keying on whatever school he was going to. I was just keying in on whatever could be the best opportunity for me."
Jones looked at Ohio State, North Carolina State, Oregon and Virginia. Mullen, however, made sure Jones knew he was still interested when he came to a St. Frances practice in December as the Panthers prepared to play in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series.
A little busy at the time, Jones thought about Florida, but wasn't ready to think about committing. He took his first visit to the campus earlier this week and announced his commitment on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
Last fall as a junior, Jones led the No. 1 Panthers to a 13-0 season, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship and the No. 4 ranking in USA Today's Super 25.
Rated the nation's No. 10 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2019 by 247Sports, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Jones ran for 819 yards and eight touchdowns last season and threw for 1,025 and 11 touchdowns. He's rated the No. 9 overall player in Maryland.
Henry Russell, co-coach at St. Frances with Biff Poggi, said Jones' varied skill set makes him a good fit for Mullen's style of offense.
"Dan uses the quarterback in a lot of different ways, both running the ball and throwing the ball, just putting the quarterback in positions to make plays and put pressure on the defense, and that's what Jalon does best," Russell said. "He runs extremely well. He's got great speed and vision. He also does a nice job in the passing game. He's very accurate. He only threw one interception last season and that deflected off a receiver's hands."
Russell said Jones' skills are in the mold of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, a former Mississippi State All-American.
"I think that's what they kind of envision Jalon as, trying to emulate that type of skill set — the athletic quarterback who can throw and do a lot of different things," Russell said.
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In the Panthers' 41-3 win over Bingham (Utah) in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series in December, Jones threw for one touchdown and ran for two. He was 6-for-11 passing for 128 yards and ran for 178 yards.
Jones said he doesn't try to emulate one college or pro quarterback, but tries to lift things from a lot of them.
"I don't really try to model my game after anybody. I just do what I do," he said. "I can't just pick one quarterback. There's too many.
"Just watching football on YouTube, looking at clips of different quarterbacks working out, to see things I might want to put in my game. I might watch Aaron Rodgers one day, Tom Brady one day, Derek Carr, Cam Newton and then spend the day just breaking down different drills they do, different ways they do footwork and different stuff."