Jarvis Jones had a list of final college destinations that could seemingly not go wrong, with powerhouse programs Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas and USC all ready to make his dream of big-time college football a reality.
Ultimately, his course of action was to choose the school that felt the most right. The Carver linebacker felt that school was the University of Southern California.
He announced his selection in the Carver High School media center with more that 150 people in attendance.
The highly anticipated announcement was carried live on www.ledger-enquirer.com, with the Web site seeing unique visitors jump 278 percent above normal (from 1,509 to 5,709) for the noon-2 p.m. time period.
“It was a tough decision. I felt like I could have done some of the same things at Texas that I hope to do at USC,” Jones said after the announcement. “But I liked the opportunity at USC, the coaches and the players.”
USC coach Pete Carroll has turned the Trojans program into a perennial power again.
The Trojans have won two national championships in the past six years and were in the discussion deep into the season each of the other years.
Carroll’s staff is known for its recruiting in fertile southern California and across the United States, too, reaching into the Midwest, Texas and East Coast to bring select talented players.
They have secured one of the Southeast’s most honored high school seniors by reaching into Georgia to sign Jones, a U.S. Army All-American.
The 6-3, 226-pound linebacker has been an impact player since stepping onto the Carver campus as a freshman, being selected the 2006 Ledger-Enquirer Player of the Year in basketball his very first year of varsity action.
Jones has been the Ledger-Enquirer’s football Defensive Player of the Year the last two years as the Tigers won the 2007 GHSA Class AAA state champion.
Carver coach Dell McGee said Jones has been just as good for the Tigers off the football field. “He’s a great kid, first of all. He’s the type kid that does everything a coach asks and beyond.”
After making his final official visit over the weekend to LSU, Jones had narrowed his decision to between Texas and USC.
Wil Muschamp, the Longhorns’ defensive coordinator and head coach in waiting, was Jones’ recruiting coach while Todd McNair was the recruiter for Southern Cal.
But the coach that perhaps made the bigger impact on Jones’ decision was USC linebacker coach Ken Norton.
Norton, the son of former world heavyweight champion Ken Norton, was an All-American linebacker at USC’s crosstown rival UCLA during his playing days before earning All-Pro honors for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers.
After Jones made his visit to Los Angeles in late October, people around the Carver program said the way Norton worked with the Trojan linebackers had impressed him.
The new Trojan admitted as much after the signing ceremony, noting Norton’s experience as a linebacker during his playing days.
Jones was one of the last of the top recruits in the Southeast to make a college choice and his decision had become an object of intense speculation on message boards devoted to his final quintet of teams.
Scout.com and Rivals, two of the nation’s major recruiting services, local television and radio were in evidence during the ceremony.
Jones was one of 10 Carver players who signed or will sign college scholarships this spring.
Rather than save the suspense until the end of the group, Jones announced his decision upfront.
After touching caps for the other finalists, tugging one cap a couple of inches before moving to another, he finally picked up the garnet and gold USC hat to the applause of the audience.
The final chapter of arguably the biggest recruiting race in recent Chattahoochee Valley memory was over.
ContactJerry Rutledge at 706-320-4405