Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central defensive tackle Elijah Jones bested a group of highly-touted prospects to earn the Defensive Line MVP award at the Champaign NIKE Camp in June. The 6-1, 285-pound prospect has used that MVP performance as a springboard to increased recruiting attention.
"It lifted me up a lot," Jones commented. "I don't think a lot of people had heard of me, but they put me next to the commitment from Michigan State [William Gholston] and he was great competition. A lot of people opened their eyes to me after that."
Following the NIKE Camp performance, Jones attended several college camps. One of his camp appearances was at Toledo and the Rockets were the most recent school to offer Jones a scholarship.
"I'd say it was about two weeks ago [they offered] through my coach," Jones said. "It was another step forward and good to know there are more people looking at me. They have a great, exciting team and when I went up there for camp it was nothing but good. Everybody was getting after it and I loved it."
The offer from Toledo joins one the three-star prospect already held from Eastern Illinois. Several additional schools continue to keep an eye on Jones including Michigan State, Indiana and Ball State. The next step in his process is scheduling official and unofficial visits with those schools showing interest.
"I'm going to take an official visit to Toledo and I'm trying to get up to Michigan State," Jones reported. "The thing with Michigan State is they are recruiting a certain amount of d-tackles and I am the one right on the edge, but that's my dream school. There's just something about them. When I first seen their team at age 14 or 15 I just started liking them."
Warren Central is off to a 3-1 start to their 2009 season and Jones has recorded 12 tackles and three sacks through the first four games. His biggest play of the year actually came in his team's only loss of the season.
"It was against Cathedral and actually got us back in the game," Jones said. "One of our linebackers hit Kofi Hughes and he fumbled. [A teammate] picked it up and he threw it back, so everybody was jumping for the ball. I jumped up, grabbed it and took it to the house."