Some times life's lessons can be taught through realization of a dream not fulfilled. For talented junior defensive tackle Andre Jones of El Paso (Texas) Andress it was a mistake his brother made growing up that taught him that he can't allow his one chance for greatness pass him up.
"My brother, Tyrone Jones, is kind of the opposite me," said Jones, who is a 6-foot-4, 305-pound monster that many are calling one of the top five underclassmen in Texas.
"He went through some things and made some bad decisions that cost him. He could have been in the same situation as me, but he made the wrong mistakes and ended up paying for them. He could have been a basketball star, but instead he now tells me every day to not make the same bad choices he did. He works hard to keep my head straight, and he's really supportive."
Jones wouldn't elaborate what his brother did, but vowed that he wouldn't get himself in that same type of situation and promised that he will be the star in football that his brother could have been in basketball.
"My goal is to not only be the best player in Texas, but to be the best player in the country," Jones said.
Jones has a shot at it based upon his performance on the field.
As a sophomore he had 91 tackles and four sacks. He earned first-team all-city honors and was an honorable mention all-state selection. He's already been called by at least one Big 12 coach as one of the top two players in the Lone Star State for the class of 2007.
"I come off the ball quick," Jones said. "I can take on the double team and use a good rip or swim moves to get to the ball. Coaches tell me that my motor is always running and that I have great footwork."
That footwork developed through hard work off the football field.
"My intention never was to be a football player," Jones said. "I wanted to be a basketball star. I thought my future was going to be in basketball. But basketball isn't where I got my quick feet from.
"I lived in Mexico City for a while growing up, and all we played was soccer. I think a lot of my quickness came from playing soccer all the time."
Jones admits that he's lived a different life than most high school juniors. He was born in Indianapolis, lived in McAllen, Texas, and spent time in Mexico City before eventually settling down in El Paso. He also was promoted almost immediately to the varsity football program, something that's hardly done in Texas.
"I had one scrimmage with the freshman team and then they moved me to varsity," Jones said. "I was supposed to play tight end, and they put me at defensive line because they needed help. I started all the games as a freshman.
"At first it was kind of tough, but I had a lot of support from my teammates. They picked me up and helped me make the transition."
And the rest is history as Jones blossomed into a beast of a defensive tackle prospect.
With an offer on the table already from UTEP and teams like Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas, Texas A&M, Miami, Tennessee and Nebraska already sending him mail, it looks like Jones is on the brink of greatness. But he can't help but think about what might have been for his brother.
"That's one thing that keeps me going every day," he said. "I use that to keep focused on what's most important. I want to be the best in the country, and I'm going to not stop working hard until I get to that point."