Middleton LB picks Gators

Published January 19, 2006

TAMPA - Middleton linebacker A.J. Jones, one of the state's top prospects, committed to Florida on Wednesday, joining five other local standouts who are headed to Gainesville for college. He also considered Alabama, Ohio State, South Carolina and Southern California.

Jones (6-foot-2, 195 pounds), a four-year starter, finished his senior season with 116 tackles and six sacks after leading Hillsborough County in tackles (170) in 2004. He is expected to play linebacker or safety at UF.

"A.J. kind of has that God-given talent," Middleton coach Harry Hubbard said.

Jones is scheduled to take his official visit to UF this weekend. Berkeley Prep offensive lineman Jim Barrie, CCC athlete Riley Cooper, Hillsborough quarterback/athlete Jarred Fayson, Jefferson tight end Trent Pupello and Zephyrhills defensive back Bryan Thomas also have committed to the Gators.

"You just put him on the field and let him play," Fayson said of Jones. "He has a lot of talent and I'm definitely looking forward to having him on the same team as me."