Opportunities abound for Middleton star linebacker

Middleton LB A.J. Jones has scholarship offers from 28 colleges.

By Times Staff Writer
Published August 23, 2005

A.J. Jones is a wanted man.

At last check, the Middleton linebacker had scholarship offers from 28 colleges. Tennessee, which offered last week, is the most recent to join the club.

Jones lists his favorites as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Southern California and Tennessee. Picking the "one" won't be easy, but he's having fun.

"It's hectic, but it's not hard," Jones said.

What is the player Rivals.com rates as the country's 10th best outside linebacker prospect looking for in a college? The usual stuff: academics, football, location, etc.

"I want to have something I can go to after football is over with," said Jones, who reports having a 2.9 GPA and 1,260 SAT. "The atmosphere of the school is important, and the area it's in. I don't want to go to a boring little town."

Jones' parents would prefer he stay close to home. But the standout said they plan to support his decision even if it leads him to a far away place such as Los Angeles, which could happen.

Of the five official visits the 6-foot-2, 192-pound Jones plans to take once Middleton's season ends, only one school has secured a trip.

"Southern Cal," Jones said. "They hardly ever come over to this side (of the country) to recruit."

Middleton defensive tackle Moses McCray (6-4, 270) has offers from Florida and Rutgers, and he's only a sophomore.

McCray broke into the starting lineup as a freshman, then had the misfortune of breaking his ankle and missing significant playing time. He's back and, coaches say, better than ever.

"He's quick, he's fast, he's strong," Middleton coach Harry Hubbard said. "He's one of those special players."

Middleton's Jones went a step farther.

"I promise you, he'll be the No.1 player in the nation someday," he said.

Robinson kicker/punter Delbert Alvarado (6-2, 175), a four-year starter, is attracting interest from Bowling Green, Central Florida, Ohio State and South Florida.

He punted for a 42-yard average and booted more than 60 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone last season.

"He's really booming the ball," Knights coach Mike DePue said.

--Times staff writer Keith Niebuhr can be reached at 226-3350 or online at niebuhr@sptimes.com