To become a state champion this year in the 100-meter dash, Class of 2009 signee Teric Jones will have to best junior teammate Dior Mathis and a slew of others. He thinks he can even though Mathis bested him at a regional meet last weekend
"At regionals you're just trying to qualify - you're not letting it all hang out," said Jones, who finished three spots behind Mathis (10.72) in fourth place with a time of 10.99 seconds.
Jones will run two events at the Michigan State Finals May 30 at East Kentwood High School, teaming with fellow Michigan signee Thomas Gordon and Mathis in the 4x100-meter relay. Cass Tech's foursome ran a 42.69-second relay to claim first at a May 15 regional in Canton. Only two schools - East Kentwood (42.12 seconds) and Southfield (42.57 seconds) - crossed the finish line more quickly in regionals contested throughout the state.
Jones' dedication to the spring sport will pay dividends for him this summer and fall, he believes. The three-star standout from Detroit is up nine pounds to 195 but believes he's faster than ever before.
"Every day, I feel bigger, stronger, faster," he said. "Thomas and I have been working out according to the Mike Barwis' plan and we can both see the changes in ourselves and each other. It's a full-body workout. It's a challenge but it's preparing both of us for what's coming up this summer."
Jones and Gordon graduate June 8 and expect to arrive at Michigan June 10, eager to join their future teammates. Fellow Technician Will Campbell enrolled early and has been sharing intimate details about the U-M program.
"I see him all the time - the three of us hang out a lot - and he tells us all about the coaches and our teammates and what you have to know about everybody," Jones said. "He just tells us that the coaches are very honest and straightforward and they're going to tell you what you have to do to play and it's up to you whether you want to do those things or not. But they don't let you just 'get by' - they're going to make you work hard."
Jones had an opportunity to enroll early but didn't take an English class last summer only to see that requirement stand in his way. He's taking the class this term.
"I could have taken it in summer school last year but I just didn't do it and I regret that decision now," he said. "I'm still enjoying my senior year but I'm ready for college and being up there with all the guys."
After rushing for 2,779 yards at Cass Tech and adding 35 receptions for 421 yards, Jones is ready to answer the call for the Wolverines wherever they need him. He received two playbooks to study up on - one for tailback and another for slot receiver.
"The coaches keep telling me they want to use me at both but they can only do so if I understand both," he said. "Every day after working out I go home and look at those books and try to learn as much as I can. I'm going to be prepared."