Wide receiver Josh Jones kicked off his junior campaign last fall in dramatic fashion by catching the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime to lead his Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder team over Charlotte Independence High. The win by Elder snapped Independence's 109-game win streak – the longest in the nation at that time.
The 6-1, 205-pound Jones is far from a one-hit wonder, however. Lining up next to class of 2008 five-star tight end Kyle Rudolph, Jones provided many more key catches and highlights en route to second team all-conference accolades. Now heading into his senior season, Jones is one of the state of Ohio's top receiver prospects.
"I think the best thing about him is his ability to run after the catch," Elder head coach Dave Ramsey said. "He is a hard guy to tackle. He's shifty, but he's also big and strong. He probably averaged 18 yards per catch and he didn't catch a whole lot of really long ones.
"I think he's got a chance to be a big time college player. When you're as big as he is and you run as well as he does, has big ole hands and can catch the ball, I think he's going to make a great college wide receiver."
College coaches throughout the Midwest agree with Coach Ramsey's assessment on Jones' future and now his name is starting to get to places outside his own region.
"Indiana, Cincinnati and (Ohio U.) have all offered. There's a couple more in the MAC," Coach Ramsey reported. "He's starting to get interest from places like Nebraska and Iowa – some Big Ten and Big 12 type schools. We've got all the tapes out now and they're starting to get back in touch with him. I think he's going to end up being a big-time recruit.
"He's got to get his grades in order. He's in a shape right now where he's probably going to be okay, but he's got to make sure he maintains what he's doing. I think that's the thing right now that's holding some teams back. He should be getting a test score back here soon and people just want to see where he is academically."
Jones has made just one visit this spring and that was to Cincinnati's spring game a week ago. The Bearcats have made the strongest impression on Jones at this stage in the process.
"He's really excited about Cincinnati," Ramsey said. "He likes what's going on there and we've had a lot of guys go there and have good success. I think those people are starting to make Cincinnati a really big-time consideration and I think he's one of those kids that is buying in to what is going on."
Since he is in the infancy stages of college visits, Jones is expected to take some time before making his college decision.
"I think he is probably going to go through the summer and see how things start at the beginning of the season," Ramsey said. "I know he wants to take a couple of visits and check some places out before he makes any decisions. He hasn't decided exactly where he is going to go for summer camps. I know he is in the midst of trying to figure that out right now."
As a junior Jones recorded more than 30 total catches in an offense that was not hurting for talent in the passing game. His efforts earned him second team all-conference honors.