By DeBartolo Sports Staff Writer
JACKSONVILLE - NUC Sports recently named Mac Jones as one of the top hundred sophomore prospects in the country and he is already receiving interest from several college programs.
Joe Dickinson, recognized as one of the nation’s top developers of young quarterback talent, always gets excited when he finds a youngster, often raw around the edges, but with that certain something, that spark, that says to him that this kid is worth the effort. It’s always good to remember any names he throws into the conversation, and recently one such has been Mac Jones. Mac, who started there in pre-k, is about to enter the tenth grade as one of 1800 students at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida.
“Mac Jones is one of, if not the purest natural passer I have ever been around,” says DeBartolo Sports QB Coach Joe Dickinson. He continues, “He (Mac) took the summer camp tour at big-time division 1 football programs by storm. There is a huge future for him.”
When you talk to Mac, it’s immediately obvious that he knows he has such a long way still to travel, but you’ll soon form the impression that he has the commitment to go with the journey as far as it will take him. Football, and being a quarterback, seems always to have been inside him. Like many other youth football players, he recalls those times as a 5 year old in Pop Warner. Early memories of a love of the quarterback position and the natural ability to throw a spiral are still clear.
It’s not just Joe. NUC Sports named Mac as one of the top hundred sophomore prospects in the country and he has already received interest from several top college programs after attending camp at 10 schools during the summer.
Three powerful influences
When you ask Mac for the influences this early in his career, he cites three. There’s Joey Edden, fellow QB at Bolles, who he credits as both a brother and mentor. Secondly, as you’d expect, is his closely-knit family. He points out that the fact they have all been involved in division one sports is a real plus point, helping him fully understand the journey he is trying to make and the commitment required.
The third is quarterback coach Joe Dickinson, or as Mac respectfully calls him, “Coach D”. Having worked with Hall of Fame QB Troy Aikman and the nation’s top 2014 QB recruit David Cornwell (now at the University of Alabama) amongst so many other top college and NFL quarterbacks, when he speaks, Mac knows to listen. Mind you, he was already well briefed by other players and friends before they ever met, such is Joe’s reputation and the main reason he sought his tutelage.
“Coach D has believed in me since I started training with him in 6th grade,” says Mac. He continues, “He wants me to be the best I can possibly be, and challenges me at every workout.”
He eagerly lists key benefits from their quarterback training work together. These include the way Coach D creates game situations when doing drills, the fact that all work is at full speed, and involves several components, such as read progressions and blitzes. Mac also loves the film work and discussions about leadership.
Continuing this long journey
A career that started with back-to-back city championships in Pop Warner is still in its infancy. Mac recognizes his strengths as understanding defenses and his arm accuracy, but knows that it takes time to build up the fluidity in play and game intelligence that his QB heroes, such as the Broncos future Hall-Of-Famer Peyton Manning and up-and-coming Brock Osweiler, display.
As the new season begins, Mac wants to be seen as the leader both on and off the field. His focus will shift to achieving the main goal for this fall: help his team win every game.