By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
ORLANDO – Chris Jones’ lunch table on Wednesday was a recruiting Most Wanted List. Three players at that table stirred the recruiting waters.
Houston’s 5-star defensive end, Jones joins 89 of the nation’s top high school players this week at ESPN Wide World of Sports, taking part in the week-long Under Armour All-America activities.
The 2013 Under Armour All-America Game is Friday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Players spend the week with chances to get to know highly-recruited players going through the same process.
“It’s been exciting,” said Jones. “You get to relate to some of those guys, see what they’re like.”
The 6-foot-7, 255-pounder is spending the week in Florida but the talk Wednesday wasn’t about where Jones is this week. It quickly became about where he will be next season.
Jones is considered by many to be Mississippi State’s strongest verbal commitment.
“You know, you never know what the future brings, but I’m still with Mississippi State,” Jones said.
He confirmed he got an offer from in-state rival Ole Miss on Tuesday.
Robert Nkemdiche, from Loganville, Ga., said Ole Miss remains his top choice, followed by LSU and Florida.
South Panola’s versatile Antonio Conner has his own options, MSU and Ole Miss among them. He plans to announce his college choice live on ESPN during Friday’s game. Alabama and Auburn remain in the hunt.
Jones said he has been trying to get Conner to join him at Mississippi State.
“I’ve kind of got a feeling where he’s going but I ain’t going to say it just yet,” Jones said, then laughed. “I know where he’s going. Me, him and Nkemdiche, we’re really tight. I’m 85 percent sure (where they’re going). Give me $50, I’ll tell you.”
The trio got a good laugh out of the joke but it’s a topic that won’t go away until national signing day in February.
Nkemdiche, whose older brother Denzel has become a star linebacker at Ole Miss, has already de-committed from Clemson. He admitted a package deal isn’t out of the question.
“We always talk about (recruiting). We have a little something in the bag,” Nkemdiche said. “We’re not saying too much right now but we talk about recruiting.”