January 1, 2012

Jones trims list to two, eyes decision

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. | It's decision week for Rivals250 athlete Cyrus Jones.

The Baltimore native listened to the pitch made my new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer after he took over in Columus. He welcomed the Auburn coaches into his home last month after taking an official there for the Iron Bowl in November.

But it's down to two: Alabama and Virginia Tech.

"Both schools are great historically, great for football," Jones said. "I feel real comfortable at both schools. There's just a great comfort zone with the coaches and the players, and it's somewhere I can see myself at for four years. I'm just going to try to think about it some more, make a wise decision and be ready on Thursday."

Jones plans to announce his decision during the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday. Practice started on Sunday for the all-stars, but Jones is already looking forward to the game.

"It's been a great couple of days," Jones said. "It's always good to come down here and get this type of experience, being around the best players in the country for a week and getting a chance to play against the best day-in and day-out. It's definitely a great experience, and I can't wait for the game on Thursday."

Jones is playing on the same team as five Crimson Tide commitments, and he's already been hearing it from the large Alabama contingent after just one day.

"Reggie Ragland and Eddie Williams, my teammates, were telling me how great of a place Alabama is and just reiterating what I know already," Jones said. "It's just great being around those guys and getting the chance to bond with top prospects and potential future teammates."

The 5-foot-11, 183-pound dynamo is playing defensive back for Team Blur (White) this week, but he still plans to start out on the offensive side of the ball if he chooses to play for the Crimson Tide.

Last month, UA head coach Nick Saban and his assistant Sal Sunseri traveled to Maryland for an in-home visit with Jones where they made one last face-to-face effort to try and lure the Rivals.com four-star to Alabama.

"It was great," Jones said. "We didn't really talk much football. It was just seeing how I'm doing, seeing how they were doing down there getting ready for the championship game and just catching up really. It wasn't really much football talk, but it was a great visit."

During the season, Jones visited Tuscaloosa for the Tennessee game, but he got another chance to watch the Crimson Tide play later in the year when he attended the Iron Bowl. At the time, Auburn was on his list of top schools but has since fallen off.

"It was a great atmosphere," Jones said. "There's not going to be too many times you get to see a game like that where the fans are into it, it's that big of a game and that much is at stake with the in-state rivalry. It was a great experience.

"I thought Alabama just dominated from the start. Offensively and defensively, they were just more physical and more mentally prepared than Auburn was."

Jones says he's not leaning one way or the other at this point but will know by Thursday if it's going to be the Tide or the Hokies.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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