Charlie Jones of Homestead (Fla.) South Dade High School was off to the races last Sept. 4 as his team opened the season against Braddock High School. Jones picked up where he left off last season and was tearing apart the Braddock defense despite poor field conditions due to rain. By halfway through the second quarter, Jones already had 106 yards on 16 carries. But then disaster struck. Jones injured his right foot and had to be taken out of the game with his team only up 14-6.
"It was a really rainy night. I was running and I broke a tackle and the balls of my toes hit the ground really hard," Jones said. "Then I heard a cracking sound. I tried to get up and walk it off but it was hurting too much. I just hobbled over to the sidelines and then the trainer checked it out. He said it looked like a sprain and could feel nothing broken. I went the next day to get it X-rayed and there are no broken bones or anything."
The diagnosis is a sprained right foot. Jones has a cast over his foot and will have it removed Friday when he gets re-evaluated. But one thing is for sure is that Jones will sit out this Friday's game against Coral Park.
For the time being he is still a highly sought after prospect - in fact, with Jones' work ethic and determination, bouncing back from a sprain should be no problem and his status as one of the best running backs in the country should not change.
Jones has over 20 offers but lists a few favorites. In order, Jones lists Miami, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee currently sitting atop his list. Miami is the clear-cut leader for Jones' services. Jones was one of many highly touted prospects in attendance for the Florida-Miami thriller in the Orange Bowl.
"It was a real exciting game," Jones said. "I thought Florida had them beat but I sort of knew that Miami was a second-half team and had a feeling they were going to come back"
Jones gave InsidetheGators.net an update on some of the schools on his short list:
Miami: "I like Miami because it is like my backyard. Mom and Dad can come see me play anytime they want, come see me practice. They run pretty much the same offense over at South Dade. They like to run the power and the counter. I have a former teammate over there in (cornerback) Antrell Rolle. I am pretty good friends with him. I like the atmosphere over there."
Florida: "It is another Florida school that my parents can come see me play. It is pretty close to my home. They looked pretty good at the Miami game. I can't wait to visit with their coaches when I get the chance to go up there."
Michigan: "They are pretty much like Miami. They like to run the power I and counter. They like to feed the ball to the running back so I like that."
Ohio State: "They run the ball at best. They always have a tradition of running the ball."
Although Miami and Florida sit pretty atop Jones' list at the current time, he hasn't ruled out any school yet. He said he doesn't plan on committing anytime soon. In fact, although he wouldn't say it, from Jones' comments you could tell that he is intrigued by what Chris Perry is doing up at Michigan.
"I just started getting information from Michigan and it is starting to sound pretty good," Jones said.
Since Sept. 1, Jones' phone has been ringing off the hook. Coaches from around the nation have been trying to get in contact with the running back to try and lure him to their program.
"My answering machine is full of messages," Jones said. " I have talked to coaches from Miami, Florida, Florida State, NC State, Michigan, Ohio State and Tennessee."
Jones said that his sprained foot is feeling better and hopes to make a return for an Sept. 18 matchup against Palmetto.
"It (foot) doesn't hurt that much," he said. "I just can't wait until the cast comes off and move my foot around."
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