James Jones was looking for a place where he could make an immediate impact, not to mention somewhere he felt at home, when it came time to decide where to continue his football career.
The Kilgore College cornerback found both at North Texas and decided late Friday afternoon to commit to the Mean Green.
Jones made an official visit to UNT this week.
“I loved it,” Jones said. “I just decided right now that I’m going to North Texas. I am going to give them the OK on Sunday. I loved the business building, the coaches and the students. It’s like a family down there.”
Mississippi State, Houston, Troy and New Mexico offered Jones scholarships. He visited Troy and was scheduled to take a visit to Houston this weekend.
Jones was considering canceling that visit Friday afternoon.
Oral commitments are nonbinding. The mid-term signing period for junior college players begins Wednesday.
Jones will transfer at mid-term and participate in spring practice.
Jones was a first-team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection and received NJCAA All-America honorable mention this season. He will have three years to use his final two seasons of college eligibility.
Jones finished with 69 tackles and three interceptions as a sophomore this season. He was a standout punt returner and took a kick back 75 yards for a touchdown in Kilgore’s loss to Northwest Mississippi in the Brazos Valley Bowl in College Station.
Jones, who is 5-11 and 170 pounds, showed his versatility at Kilgore, where he started at safety as a freshman before moving to cornerback as a sophomore.
Jones said the coaches at UNT want him to return punts in addition to playing cornerback next season. The Mean Green struggled in the return game this season, as UNT averaged a Sun Belt Conference-low 2.1 yards a return.
It was the opportunity to make an immediate impact at UNT that was so attractive for Jones. The Mean Green also struggled in pass defense, allowing an average of 251.9 passing yards a game, a performance Jones says he can help UNT improve on.
“UNT is a better fit than some of the other schools I visited,” Jones said. “I am looking for somewhere I can fit in right away, work hard and start.”
Jones was a standout quarterback for Aldine Eisenhower, where he was named the MVP of District 18-5A and the Northwest Houston Player of the Year as a senior.
Baylor and Houston recruited Jones following his high school career.
“I was told I wasn’t a qualifier and went to Kilgore,” Jones said. “I found out later I did qualify.”
Safety Marcus Trice hosted Jones on his visit.
“It’s a great community,” Jones said of UNT. “The players felt like my brothers. It’s close enough to home but far enough away.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a list of players who have committed to become members of North Texas’ 2013 signing class:
Player Position School
Brock Berglund* QB Valor Christian (Colo.)
Sed Ellis LB Paris
James Jones CB Kilgore College
Darvin Kidsy WR Fort Bend Elkins
Shawn McKinney OL Trinity Valley Community College
Sergio Medina LB Hahnville, La.
Calvin Minor LB Lewisville
Cody Nelson OL Keller
John Schilleci S Guyer
Fred Scott LB Kennedale
Turner Smiley WR Frisco Wakeland
Harrison Sorge OL Wichita Falls Rider
Dominic Walker OL Fort Bend Austin
Dajon Williams QB Pflugerville Connally
* Transfer already enrolled at UNT