CLEARWATER – Jacquez Jones took a huge step forward last season for Clearwater and now the rising senior is not looking back. Committed to the University of Tennessee, Jones has come onto the football scene in a hurry.
The 5′ 10 1/2″, 170-pounder played his first year of organized football in eighth grade. Fast forward to 2015 and he finished first in total yards (1,322) and touchdowns (13) for the Tornadoes with 974 receiving yards and eight touchdowns along with 348 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Jones has already packed on 15 lbs. of muscle this off-season and is aiming to at least get to 180 before August. During his first two seasons, Clearwater struggled to get anything going as they went 4-16 under head coach Donnie Abraham. In 2015, assistant coach Don Mesick took over and led the Tornadoes to an 8-3 record and their first playoff appearance since 2004.
Although Clearwater lost in the 6A region quarterfinals to Port Charlotte, Jones called the postseason experience humbling. Now, his group is on the way up.
“It taught us that everything is not always handed to you,” Jones said. “It doesn’t matter what school you go to it’s all about how much work you put in.”
Jones feels that Clearwater is poised to go all the way this year and he is determined to team up with star running back and North Carolina commit Adarius Lemons to make that happen.
After starting off as a defensive back as a freshman, Jones made the switch to wideout his sophomore season where he combined for 587 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. Averaging a team-best 120.3 yards per game last season, Jones proved that he is more than capable of being leader of the pack.
“I learned that you have to set the example. If you do something wrong there going to be looking at you. It was a big eye opener with a lot of expectations.”
Jones says he gained a wealth of confidence last summer in Mesick’s first off-season running the show at Clearwater.
“He [Mesick] let me know that being good is good, but being great is better. Having that person push you to the limit that’s when I realized that I could be a dominant force.”
He calls Mesick someone who expects the best out of you on and off the field. Mesick has quickly become a fan favorite and a guy that the players truly relate to.
“He wants you to be accountable for your actions. That’s a big deal. Just knowing that I’m not trying to disappoint my head coach.”
Before verbally committing to Tennessee last Friday, Jones was mulling over a total of 20 offers. He said he strongly considered Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville before picking Tennessee, a campus that he calls a great environment.
“When I was there in March I felt like I was home there. I could see myself there for three or four years. The coaches treated me different than all the other coaches. It’s the SEC, so you want to be the best.”
Playing in the SEC is something that gets Jones excited as he alluded to the likes of Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham Jr. and Percy Harvin as former SEC stars that he looks up to. Jones says you have to have good hands to be one of the best in the SEC.
As for his biggest strengths, Jones said that is his intelligence on the field. He says he knows personnel’s very well and watches a lot of film. As for the one area of his game that he wants to improve that it is blocking. He knows you have to be an impact blocker at the next level and that is what he is working on the most.
Jones’ mom is his biggest role model. He says she’s one of the people that he looks up to the most in his life. Jones is the oldest of three children and has a brother and sister.
His ultimate goal with the game of football is to make it to the NFL.
“I want to play in the NFL for sure. No doubt. I want to make the Pro Bowl and just be a dominant force and answer when my number is called.”
Jones plans to study psychology in college.
This kid is a burner. He has straight line speed and uses every bit of his quickness to break off to the second level. He makes the quarterback’s job easier and makes defenses second guess everything they are doing.
Jacquez Jones is going to dominate as a senior. He did it last season and should only do more for a hungry Clearwater team that is loaded with weapons. Expect Jones to have the ball in his hands a ton in 2016.
Favorite players to watch – Clemson WR Artavis Scott, Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown and New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Playlist before games – Migos, Kodak Black, Future, Lil Wayne, Yo Gotti
Favorite movies – The Book of Eli
Favorite TV shows – ESPN
Fun fact about you that nobody knows – “I’m a goofy person. I’m always laughing and playing around.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “Quez”
Game film: Jones’ Hudl tape
Photo credit: Scout
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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