A week ago, Auburn led for Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson strongside defensive end Jarontay Jones. On Sunday, Jones said Florida is now in front.
Two things, actually.
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The first: Auburn defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, with whom Jones had grown close too, took a job with the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
The second: Jones visited the Gators for junior day on Saturday.
"It went great," Jones said of his trip to Gainesville, Fla. "It was a great junior day. Right now, it's Florida [in the lead]. Especially since I took that visit. And when Coach Rocker went to the Titans, that kind of hurt [Auburn]."
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Jones, who has offers from several other programs, including Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, had never previously visited Florida. A member of the Rivals250 to watch for 2012, Jones made the trip with 10 Stephenson teammates, leaving Stone Mountain at 5 a.m. Saturday.
"We came down in a van," Jones said. "We got [to Gainesville] at about 11. It was my first time there. It was great. I was definitely loving it. We talked to the coaches and to the players. We were with [running back and Georgia native] Mack Brown a lot."
The highlight of the visit?
"Meeting with the players," Jones said. "That helped a lot. They talked to me about how much they liked it down there. Mack told us how it is. He really liked it. It's hard work, but it's a great program. The facilities are great. [Strength coach Mickey Marotti] and his weight program are great. At Florida, they've got flat screens in the weightroom. They've got before and after pictures on them that show a player when they first came, and how they left. It was amazing how they transformed their bodies."
Florida defensive line coach Bryant Young was not on hand, but Jones said he spent time with most of the coaching staff, including defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, one of his primary recruiters, and head coach Will Muschamp.
"I met with Coach Muschamp," Jones said. "He's a great guy. He's definitely energetic. I met alone with him. We just talked about how much he wanted me to come to Florida. He wants me to come down for a spring practice, so we're planning on going down there next month."
While in Gainesville, running back Mike Davis, one of Jones' Stephenson teammates, committed to Florida. According to Jones, Davis tried convincing him to follow.
"I ain't going to lie, it did [cross his mind]," Jones said. "But I have plenty of time. I think as time goes by and I take more visits, I think it'll pretty much settle. They're definitely a big leader."
That said, Auburn is still in the picture.
"They're not out of it," Jones said. "I still like Auburn. Since [Rocker] left, it just messed everything up. I really wanted to play for him. I went down there for a camp, and I learned so much."