The interest in Columbus (Ind.) East running back Markell Jones has picked up after a record-setting junior season, and the three-star back picked up his first Big Ten offer last Friday from Purdue.
"That was huge," Jones said. "Two of the biggest things I needed to do is get an in-state offer and get a Big Ten offer. It was really good to get that first Big Ten offer out of the way."
Jones learned of the offer after placing a call to Purdue assistant coach Gerad Parker.
"It was kind of unexpected," Jones said. "He messaged me on Facebook and asked me to call him, so I called him and when he told me I had the offer I was really excited.
"They said they sat down and watched my film as a staff and were really impressed. They said they need some running game and are trying to build a program that is winning again in the future."
Jones attended a game at Purdue this fall and is familiar with the in-state school. He likes what he sees out of them thus far.
"I think it could be a good fit for me," Jones said. "I like that it is in-state and family can get to all the games. They have one of the top aviation schools in the nation and I want to be a pilot, so that's awesome too.
"I went up there for the Purdue-Notre Dame game, and I have been up there before and talked with Coach Maurice. I know their coaching staff pretty well and am looking to get up there Feb. 2 for the junior day. I will become more familiar with it over time."
Since his team won the Class 4A title last month, Jones has started to hear more from schools like Ohio State and Louisville. He does not have any other junior days planned outside of Purdue's, but has some trips that are possible.
"I was talking with the Wisconsin running backs coach yesterday and he was wanting me to visit for their junior day," Jones said. "That is kind of far away and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get out to that one, but that's a possibility."
The 5-foot-9, 201-pound Jones carried 251 times for 2,645 yards and 42 touchdowns as a junior, leading Columbus East to a perfect 15-0 record in the process.