Florida quarterback signee Emory Jones is all packed and ready to get to Gainesville, but he has unfinished business in Orlando: helping recruit the final pieces of UF’s 2018 class.
Speaking Saturday at the Under Armour All-America game Media Day, Jones revealed just how he spurned Ohio State and wound up a Gator, and it all came down to relationships and “what was best for my future.”
“It’s definitely a relief now. I’ve got everything off my back now, so I feel good about everything,” Jones said. “I’m ready to get to Gainesville and go to work. They actually wanted me to come straight from here, but I think I’m going to come home for a day. I already have all my stuff packed, so I’m just going to go back, get it and head up I think the 6th or the 7th.”
But first, he hopes to sway some remaining targets considering the Gators who are participating in the week’s festivities. He’s been in touch with former UF commit Jacob Copeland – the two are teammates this week as well – and he has an entire list of players he’s looking to pitch on coming to Gainesville.
“Jalen Preston, Tommy Bush, Jacob Copeland. I got a couple guys, I’ve got a list of them. So I’m going to be on them,” Jones said. “I just want to tell them to get back to The Swamp and bring everything back to where it’s supposed to be. I feel like we can be the guys to do that and make that happen.”
Florida fans had quite a scare near the end, however, as Jones took a final visit to Florida State. He had been in contact with the Seminoles prior to Mullen’s arrival in Gainesville, and coach Willie Taggart made a strong impression on the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback prospect. But in the end, UF felt like the place where Jones could be most successful.
“It’s kind of crazy, because when (Taggart) got there, I knew what he was bringing there. The offense from Oregon. He came to do the in-home visit with me and I loved him. My mom and my family loved him. And I went up for a visit and I still loved it,” Jones said of FSU. “He will turn the program back around.
“I was praying on it a lot, and I felt like (coach Dan Mullen and quarterback coach Brian Johnson) were just coming back into my life at the right time.”
Jones said Mullen has already laid out a game-plan for when he arrives on campus – it starts with the 202-pounder hitting the weight room.
“The first thing they said is they want to get me up to 217, and they want me to work hard and compete and they told me it’s going to be hard for a freshman to come in and start, so I know I have to get to work, compete with a lot of guys there,” Jones said. “I’m ready for it.”
And as for the elephant in the room – the lack of success at Florida at the quarterback position for nearly a decade – Jones said he’s fueled by turning around a program.
“My whole life I’ve always been on a team that always starts off not too good, and then they end it very well. I feel again it’s another thing that God put this in front of me for a reason,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m the type of dude to come in and change a program around.”