Jarron Jones adding strength to the mix
Penn State commit always had size, speed; now he's beefing up work in weight room
At 6-foot-7, 303 pounds, it's not that Rochester (N.Y.) Aquinas Institute's Jarron Jones needs to necessarily get any bigger.
The ESPNU 150 Watch List defensive tackle has always had the size and the speed, but Jones is now hitting the weights harder than ever to add strength to mix and that could make him downright scary for opposing offensive linemen.
"He's real fast and athletic. Jarron Jones is the best I have seen for a big kid," said Aquinas Insitute coach Chris Battaglia. "When you first see him you think you see a prototype offensive tackle but he's so athletic that he can play defense. Jarron is a perfect five technique in the 3-4. He plays three technique for us and teams struggle to block him. Jarron is so tall and so long. He just turned 17 and he has so much potential. He just needs to get stronger."
It's been an awesome offseason. The weight training is coming along real well. I feel a lot stronger. I also feel lighter, more agile. I'm running faster and just carrying the weight better.” -- Watch List DT Jarron Jones
But that has been a process. It wasn't easy for him to get comfortable in the program. Jones' frame can work against him at times. Long arms means the bar has to go that much higher on bench presses, slowing the jumps in weight. Long legs mean he has a longer way to go on squats.
"I think he has to get stronger," Battaglia said. "We have a very advanced weight program and he's just starting to get it on his own. His bench is up a lot. Two years ago he could hardly do it. Now he's benching 300 pounds. That's good for him. We are working on his squat and that's tough because he's 6-7. He's really trying hard to get stronger. He has to get better as everyone gets better once they go to college. He can't stay the same."
Slowly but surely, Jones, a Penn State commit, is feeling more and more comfortable in the weight room and he's seeing the results.
"It's been an awesome offseason," Jones said. "The weight training is coming along real well. I feel a lot stronger. I also feel lighter, more agile. I'm running faster and just carrying the weight better. And I am also working on technique. I have a better stance now. I will be playing with a lower pad level and I can't wait to put all these things together on the football field this fall."
That's good news for Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions, but Jones, while saying he's still solid with Penn State, does plan on taking all his visits.
"The Penn State coaches are all great. They are great guys," Jones said. "Penn State is such a nice place to be and it's in the middle of nowhere. You don't have to worry about anything. It's a great campus and they get over 100,000 per game.
"I just want to take all my visits to just make sure that Penn State is the best place for me. Recruiting is a marathon and I will make it all official on national signing day."
Jones currently has 19 scholarship offers and has visited Penn State, Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt and Boston College.
"I want to get to as many schools as possible," he said. "So far I have gotten off to a pretty good start."
Jones will next visit North Carolina on Memorial Day, Michigan and Notre Dame on the last weekend in June and he will check out Louisville sometime in July.
For now, Jones believes he will make official visits to Syracuse, Michigan, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Louisville this fall.
"He loves Penn State," Battaglia said. "He loves those coaches. But his mother, father and I really want him to look at everything to make the right decision. He's going to have five visits. If no one else is better than Penn State, then that's where he will go. Jarron has been honest with Penn State and they have been great with him."
While Jones is busy lifting weights and preparing for his final high school season, he's also thinking about his big decision that will go down in early February.
"I want to pick a school where I am comfortable with the coaches and players," Jones said. "I want to have that bond with my teammates. I want to fit in. Playing time is big. I love playing football. It's the game I love."
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at email@example.com.