Matt Jones, Armwood running back, has verbally committed to the University of Florida.
A three year letterman at Armwood and the BigCountyPreps top-rated returning RB, he amassed nearly 1700 yards from scrimmage in 2010, his junior season. He scored 28 touchdowns on the year, including both Armwood scores in the 17-14 state final loss to Lincoln. He has always been a dual threat in the Hawks offense and is one of the fastest players on the team.
Jones has shaken off critical labels that have dogged him in the past. He ran with authority and power in both the state semifinals vs. Dwyer, and the final vs. Lincoln after it was said he didn’t like contact.
His work ethic has been questioned, but when I asked Hawks offensive coordinator Evan Davis about it, he replied via text, “As he has matured, …It has changed in the last year and [a] half.”
Scout.com has labeled him: “not a speed back,” and yet he broke away and outran defenders on long touchdowns in both of the aforementioned playoff games. A strange criticism considering that Davis agrees that he may well be the fastest Hawk player. Indeed, Jones hauled in a simple seam pass at midfield and simply outran some very fast Dwyer defenders en route to a 72-yard TD reception. In the final, he took a handoff and burst through the line, on a very well blocked play, then continued running past every Lincoln defender in the middle of the field for a 79-yard TD run. (both plays in video below)
He will be tested versus the best defenses in the country playing within the SEC. In the face of the critics, it will be interesting to gauge his intensity level through this final year at Armwood. Can he duplicate the example of his friend James Wilder, Jr., who clearly spent everything he had at Plant after committing to Florida State before his senior season?
“I was real happy, just so excited. I knew I was going to commit when I got there,” said Jones regarding his Junior Day visit to Gainesville this weekend past. He was very impressed with Florida head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Jones becomes the first running back to commit to the Gators for their 2012 recruiting class.