MONTGOMERY, Ala. – In every class, there is a prospect that comes out of seemingly nowhere that shoots up the rankings to the point of being regarded as one of the best in the country. In the class of 2013, that prospect is Mississippi State commitment Chris Jones (Houston, Miss.).
Chris Jones had an amazing 160 tackles during his senior season at Houston (Miss.) High. The Mississippi State commit was given a five-star rating by 247Sports on Dec. 14.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end with a nearly unlimited ceiling committed to Dan Mullen and staff on June 11 and entered the 2012 season as a virtual unknown nationally. That all changed a few weeks into the season as Jones was not only posting jaw-dropping stats on a weekly basis, but was receiving consistent praise for how hard he played the game and how much he had improved from his junior season.
Fast-forward two months, and Jones is now the No. 15 ranked overall prospect in the 2013 class by 247Sports and is a five-star rated prospect. If his “coaches dream” body type and ability weren’t enough, nor his 160 tackles, 45 tackles for loss and 14 sacks during his senior season wasn’t enough; his dominating week in Montgomery at the 26th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game was certainly enough to tip the scales in Jones’ favor.
For those that went up against him last week, and coached him, the elite talent with an engaging personality to go with it more than impressed.
“Yeah, in person, this was the first time I have seen him,” said team Mississippi defensive line coach Judd Boswell. “We looked at him on film of course, but he is four times better looking in person than on film.”
For Boswell, who coaches at Clinton High, it’s the combination of physical talent and motor that sets Jones apart.
“He’s a blessing for me to coach because he’s got the potential and tools to put his hand down on Saturday, and in a few years on Sunday; and you don’t see that very often,” Boswell said. “He’s an unbelievable kid, great motor and has all the tools to be successful. His length and the motor he has stands out. He just loves to play, and every snap is a war for him. He’s coming every time. Most of the time with kids that talented, they take a play off, but he doesn’t take plays off. That’s probably the biggest thing is that he is so gifted, but he uses his gift so well.”
Jones, who took home team Mississippi MVP honors in Saturday’s 21-16 loss to Alabama, was the talk of the practices all week, impressing every player that he went up against, particularly some of his future Bulldogs teammates.
“Chris and I have been tight for a while, since we had committed to State on the same day,” offensive guard prospect Deon Mix said. “I watched him more on the Internet (than in person) before this week and he is a freak. This week has been in his favor a lot of the time. We are just working with each other, getting each other better, and I beat him sometimes and he beats me a lot. He’s just so long and rangy. His first step is three of mine, so when I kick, I have to kick hard. For him to be so long, he’s got great leverage and just comes off the ball so hard.”
Like Mix, fellow Mississippi State offensive line commitment Jake Thomas has seen similar from Jones.
“He’s a great player and definitely making me better,” Thomas said. “I guess we are going to be making each other better next year everyday too, more so him to me because he is so quick off the ball, he’s huge, he has big steps and he is just good.”
A third Mississippi State offensive line commit that Jones went up against all week offered up more of the same.
“(Jones) is a great player. He’s physical, and it’s tough going up against him. And I like him very much because he is part of the Bulldog family,” Kent Flowers said. “He’s just tough, he is better than I thought he was, and he’s just a challenge.”
Jones has a 247Sports rating of 99, after having jumped up from No. 125 to 38 in late October to five-star status on Dec. 14. He has a 247Composite rating of .9281, making him the No. 157 ranked prospect in the 2013 class – as of Dec. 16.
Gerry Hamilton is the lead National Recruiting Analyst for 247Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GerryH247Sports