Florida’s annual recruiting showcase — Friday Night Lights — didn’t feature the usual high-profile targets, but it did have an uncommon sight: a top quarterback prospect competing with no incentive.
Jalon Jones, a 6-foot-3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 class, is already committed to the Gators, but he opted to participate in the camp aspect run by coach Dan Mullen and his staff rather than join several other highly recruited prospects in attendance as spectators.
Ranked the No. 7 dual-threat QB by 247Sports, Jones made the trip from Baltimore with the objective of improving his craft while continuing to acclimate to the UF coaching staff.
And Jones couldn’t attend Friday’s festivities without trying to boost Florida’s 2019 class in the process.
“I’ve been recruiting as well, so just talking to them and seeing what they like to run,” Jones said. “I’m in a competition with myself. I’m just getting better, and any chance I get to go out there and throw I’m going to take it. Especially being in this atmosphere for the first time, throwing on the field. It’s a big dream of mine. I’ve been dreaming of throwing in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium since I was 8 years old. I used to play with Florida on NCAA Football ’11, when Tim Tebow was on the cover.”
Aside from his personal objectives, Jones also got the opportunity to see another former NCAA Football cover star — UF quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson — employ his coaching philosophies and techniques at the camp.
“He knows what he’s talking about. We’ve had great conversations. He’s somebody I really look up to, and just really excited to have him as a coach,” Jones said of Johnson. “One, being an African-American quarterback and being as successful as he has been, he can just pour so much information into my game and into my life. So I’m just really excited to be here and be under his wing.”
When it comes to the recruiting trail, however, much of Florida’s efforts were focused on building strong relationships with some of the top prospects in the 2020 class, including Trinity Christian Academy defensive back Fred Davis.
Ranked a five-star prospect by the 247Sports composite, Davis, a lifelong Gators fan, made the trip from Jacksonville with his teammate Miles Brooks, who also has accrued a full slate of scholarship offers from Power 5 programs before entering his junior year of high school.
It was Davis’ second trip — he took an unofficial visit April 14 for Florida’s Spring game — and he had an opportunity to don No. 7 and compete under the bright lights.
After the second visit to Florida, it’s safe to say the program has done all the right things in a short amount of time.
“They’re at the top,” Davis said of the Gators. “It’s great, because I’ve been watching Florida ever since I was little, I grew up a Florida fan. If I play here it would just be a blessing.”