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December 17, 2011

Jones' long touchdown seals the deal

ORLANDO, Fla. - It seems like everyone has weighed in on the decommitment of Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson Rivals100 running back Mike Davis. But little has come from the prospect who may be most affected by Davis' decision to no longer attend Florida.

In the wake of a 40-31 state championship victory for Seffner Armwood against Miami Central, Gators running back commit Matt Jones spoke on the topic of now being the lone backfield commit for UF going forward.

While some might think the possibility of having a better chance t be the feature back could be exciting for the four-star back, Jones made it clear that is not the case.

"Not really," he said. "I still want to recruit a running back. It's just great to have two running backs as a threat, in and out, in and out."

With Florida's remaining options appearing bleak in the backfield, Jones is preparing himself to be mature enough to be "the guy" for the Gators if need be.

"I definitely do want another running back," the 6-2, 200-pound back said. "As far as me going in by myself, I'm kind of lonely, but I've still got to do what I've got to do."

As for Saturday's game, Jones was able to shine through because of some versatility on a day when things weren't working well for him on the ground. He started out somewhat strong, picking up 28 yards on seven carries in the first quarter, 16 of those yards coming on what would prove to be his longest run of the day. But playing through an ankle injury would eventually catch up to him.

Jones looked a bit tentative throughout the game, as he managed just four yards on eight carries for the remainder of the contest.

But when his team needed him the most, Jones came through as a receiver. On a fourth-quarter play that would prove to seal the game, Jones darted past the coverage and caught a perfectly thrown ball from 2013 prospect Alvin Bailey for an 80-yard touchdown reception.

"I work on everything a running back needs to work on, pass block, catching," he said. "I've got great hands. Being a pass threat out of the backfield, most running backs don't have that. That gets you in easier when you've got the whole package deal."

The 80-yard grab was one of Jones' three on the day for a total of 119 yards.

Jones commit will next find himself on campus on the weekend of January 20 when he takes his official visit to Gainesville. He said he is currently not sure what other commits, if any, will be making the trip with him. However, he has already prepared his sales pitch for any undecided recruits visiting with him.

"I just tell them we still run a pro style," Jones said. "We still need the biggest recruits. Coach Muschamp said in one of his interviews that (being a) freshman doesn't matter if you come in with the mindset that you will get your playing time, that mature and act like you're a senior on the team. Playing time, I think that recruits will take that very well."

With a bit of turmoil going on at Florida in regards to coaching changes and recruiting, Jones was pleased to see a group of Gators coaches that was composed of defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, running backs coach Brian White, defensive line coach Bryant Young and wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill in attendance at the Citrus Bowl.

"I just love the Florida coaches," Jones said.

"I have a good time talking to them. Coach Weis left, but he's still my friend in my heart. But the coaches up there, I'm glad they came and showed some love to me even though they're going through some adversity up there. I'm just glad for them."


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