Written By Jake Perper, Prep Sports Scout
JACKSONVILLE – When he’s not joking around with his teammates speaking Chinese, his second language, Bolles quarterback Mac Jones is working hard on his craft. The rising senior has already earned 16 offers to Division-I schools including his first Power Five offer from Kentucky last summer, the program he’s verbally committed to.
Before Jones became the player and person he is today, he trained at a very young age with DeBartolo Sports lead quarterback instructor Joe Dickinson. Dickinson, a former college quarterback resides in Oklahoma but makes his way around the country often to teach his kids techniques and masterful ways.
A then sixth grader, Jones first met Dickinson while watching his sister’s tennis camp. A very confident Jones went up to Dickinson and said, “Hey, I play quarterback and I kind of like what you are teaching.”
From there, the two connected the following week at a football camp in Jacksonville and they’ve hit it off ever since. Jones says they text every day and have a pretty active relationship. Dickinson gives him tips whenever he can and comes to town periodically for throwing sessions.
When asking Jones what Dickinson has truly taught him, he said this.
“A lot. He’s taught me the leadership standpoint and mental part of playing quarterback. Just kind of the ins-and-outs of how you need to present yourself in the meeting room and talking to a coach. He’s always about positive energy and making sure you are looking up to par when talking to a coach.”
Dickinson hammers home the idea to Jones of never showing negative emotion. Jones grasps that notion and knows the team revolves around him so he needs to believe in himself for them to believe in him.
Jones won the Rivals Quarterback Challenge in Baltimore on Apr. 24 after advancing with a nice performance in February in Orlando. He says to see the maturation process was great. To name a few highly sought after quarterbacks that were there Jones rattled off, Chase Brice (Loganville, Ga.), Trevor Lawrence (Cartersville, Ga.) and Emory Jones (Franklin, Ga.).
“It was interesting to compete against all the high talented quarterback prospects. They take it so seriously. Obviously winning is a big deal. A year ago, I was at the camp, but I was never in the mix of winning. I was like wow this is awesome.”
In terms of his offers currently on the table, the latest one came from Louisville last Wednesday. Alabama, Rutgers, Indiana, Arizona State, Illinois, West Virginia and Boston College are just some of the others out of the 16.
The 6’2″, 185-pounder says there was a week where he earned about seven to eight offers and that was a confidence booster. He’s glad to see some of these big-time schools commit to him because he says sometimes they can be iffy with quarterbacks in that regard.
Kentucky came calling last July and as his first Power Five offer, he says that was one of the reasons he liked them so much to pull the trigger early and verbally commit.
“They’ve updated all their facilities. It’s a brand new $120 million building that includes a weight room, film room, barbershop, movie room, hot tub, basically everything you can imagine. All the practice fields are close to the stadium which is great.”
He’s visited the campus about four to five times already which included game days and a junior prospect day. Jones says right now he’s pretty comfortable with Kentucky, but obviously, things can change.
“There’s a coaching change almost every year in college football. I want to make sure that there is stability and I think there is. I’m happy. There are some big schools who have offered me so I’m going to evaluate those.”
When he committed last summer, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson played a large part in Jones’ recruitment. However, Dawson is now in Southern Mississippi (one of his 16 offers) in the same capacity. Darin Hinshaw the new co-offensive coordinator/quarterback coach for the Wildcats is someone Jones says he has a close relationship with.
Despite Dawson’s firing from Kentucky, Jones maintains a good relationship with him. He says that Dawson is very supportive and chats with his father often.
At Bolles, Jones has always been under center, but at Kentucky, he knows he’ll mostly be running things out of the shotgun. That doesn’t worry him since he’ll be under center at times there as well.
Keeping his intensity up during his final prep season and beyond that is something that Jones learned a long time ago from Dickinson. Starting his football career at five years old, he says that Dickinson was the first person that got him used to more experienced quarterbacking.
In youth football, Jones played both quarterback and running back and realized quickly that he just wanted the ball as much as he could have it.
“Playing quarterback was a lot of fun. Everyone wants to throw. That’s really what brought me to the position.”
This past season marked his first full year as the Bolles starting quarterback. Jones threw for 2,500 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also rushed for five touchdowns and completed 62 percent of his passes.
The Bulldogs went 9-3 and advanced to the 4A Region Final against eventual state runner-up Baines. Prior to last season, Bolles went to two state title games with Jones watching from the sidelines. The program is tops in the state with 11 titles all-time including the most recent one coming in 2011.
“It was a good experience,” said Jones about all the time spent in the playoffs. “Especially when I was younger, I wasn’t really playing much. I played a little bit but I just got to observe, listen and learn and take it in as mental reps. That led me to see how intense playoffs are and how much fun it is to win those games.”
As a sophomore, he relieved former starter Joe Edden and got in five games of tape including time against powerhouse schools American Heritage and Raines. With one season under his belt as the man under center, Jones says going out on top with his first state title and head coach Corky Rogers’ 11th would be unbelievable.
“Coach Rogers is getting a little old and he knows that. He just wants to make sure he can do his job. They day he can’t do his job, he is going to end his career. But he does a great job still. I think if we win this year it would be a shot for him to say ‘I can go out on this.’
…It would be awesome more for him because he’s done so much for a ton of people and Bolles players. In terms of that relief we’ve been in a little bit of a slump and a lot of people talk bad about us so it would be nice.”
Jones says coach Rogers is someone who takes a little time to adjust to, but overall he’s an awesome guy.
“He’s definitely a different style of coach. He’s a very intense guy who expects a lot of me. He’s known me since I was five. I’ve always wanted to play for him. He’s been successful with tons of quarterbacks and players.”
Rogers’ football career dates back to his playing days at Georgia Tech in the mid 60’s where he eventually played for the Baltimore Colts. He’s been coaching since 1969 and built a winner in Bolles starting in his first season there in 1989.
Spring practices are underway in Florida. Bolles plays against 5A Westside on May 19. Jones is looking forward to that game and camps this summer. He hopes to be selected for the Elite 11 finals in Oregon and is searching for more events in the time being.
Jones is an all-around quarterback. This is what he said was his biggest strengths right now on the field.
“My mental quickness. I’m quick with where I’m going and I don’t hesitate too much. I throw the ball pretty accurately. Coach D has done a great job with my mechanics. Also, understanding formations and football talk more helps further my game.”
As for weaknesses, he says nothing is really an issue with his attributes as a quarterback, he’s just got to keep advancing his progression. But he did point out one thing that is very important.
“I’m a little small for a big-time school. I’ve been working on getting stronger, improved all my measurables and a have gotten faster. Hopefully that will correlate onto the field.”
Modeling his attitude after his favorite current NFL quarterback Tom Brady, Jones isn’t afraid to fight for every yard whether with his arm or legs. He says he doesn’t rely on his scrambling, but every once in a while he does it to extend plays. Most recently, Jones ran a 4.85-second 40-yard dash.
Coming from a very balanced and successful family, Jones says that his role model is his family in general as a unit.
“Each one of them has their own contributions to me. My dad has done a great job mentally preparing me. He provides the spiritual aspect of the game and loves being along for the ride. My mom handles my recruiting. My brother and sister play college sports as well and I look up to them.”
His brother Will is a senior at Mercer playing soccer and is preparing to be a doctor while his sister Sarah Jane is a sophomore at College of Charleston playing tennis while studying to be a lawyer. Both of his parents are lawyers. Mac says he wants to study sports broadcasting in college and that is something that Kentucky offers.
He wants to give back to the kids and people when his football career is over. Jones has a desire to run camps for kids and help out in that fashion.
“If I play in the NFL that is good, but I don’t rely on football. I have good grades and I’m going to get a good degree from the school I go to. Hopefully that will help me out a lot after football is over.”
Smart, talented, humble, smooth and confident. Those are just some of the words that describe Mac Jones. This kid has everything you want in a football player on and off the field. At the game’s most important position, quarterback, he’s in line for a big career.
Between the guidance of Rogers and Dickinson, Jones is beyond lucky to be in the position that he is in. It’s a pretty rare occurrence and he’s made the most of it.
Favorite players – Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
Favorite movies – Step Brothers
Favorite TV show – Friday Night Lights
Nickname from friends or teammates – “Mac Daddy”, “Mac Dezy”
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
Story originally posted at: https://prepsportsscouting.com/2016/05/04/1-on-1-with-bolles-qb-mac-jones/