Junior to Watch: Charlie Jones
School: Homestead (Fla.) South Dade HS
Position: Running Back
Size and speed: Jones is 5-foot-11, weighs 195 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds.
Statistics: As a junior, he rushed for 1,646 yards on 220 carries (7.48 avg.) and scored 18 touchdowns.
Honors: Was a second-team Class 6A all-state selection and first-team All-Dade pick at running back.
Favorite Schools: Miami, Tennessee, Kansas State, Auburn, Duke, Iowa State.
Skinny: Looking for early candidates to challenge for the title of Florida’s top running back in 2004?
With scholarship offers from the likes of Miami and Tennessee already on his plate, South Dade’s Charlie Jones will be near the front of the line.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Jones is coming off a junior season which saw him rush for 1,646 yards and 18 touchdowns to earn Class 6A all-state honors and establish himself as a top prospect.
“If we had left him in some games, he would have had more than 400 yards,” South Dade coach Don Drinkhahn said. “I don’t believe in doing that to the kids on other teams, but Charlie was that dominant. There’s no telling how many yards he would have wound up with.”
Drinkhahn says Jones’ best attribute is his power.
“He’s a very hard runner,” he said. “He’s one of those kids who gets stronger, gets better and better as the game goes on.”
The South Dade staff started seeing signs of his potential when he earned a starting role as a sophomore.
“He basically had no line in front of him and still rushed for about 970 yards,” Drinkhahn said. “That’s when we knew he could be really special.”
And according to Drinkhahn, Jones is as good off the field as he is on it. He maintains a 2.9 GPA and has already qualified with an 850 on the SAT.
“He’s just an exceptional kid,” Drinkhahn said. “He has leadership, work ethic and character on and off the field. I’ve been coaching for 37 years now and sent several players on to the next level, but he’s as good as anyone I’ve ever coached.”
In addition to the Hurricanes and Volunteers, Jones also has early offers from Auburn, Kansas State, Iowa State and Duke. He’s receiving heavy interest from “almost every major program,” including recent attention from Florida and Stanford.
“He talks about Miami and Tennessee most of all,” Drinkhahn said. “I think those are his two favorites at this point, but he’s made it clear he’ll look around and take some visits. He doesn’t want to rush into anything.”
Jones plans to attend the Nike combine at Miami. He’s yet to finalize his summer camp plans.