Tupelo’s Jones ready for all-star tilt

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Recruiting experts wanting to know where Tupelo’s P.J. Jones will play his next football game will get the same answer this week – in Mobile, Ala.
Jones, a 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive lineman, will play Saturday in the 24th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic at Ladd-Peeples Stadium.
“I’m looking forward to being down there with all those good players,” Jones said last week. “I’d like to see things all come together (for the Mississippi all-stars). We want to make it happen.”
Alabama has won the last two years and has taken victories in eight of the last 10 games. Mississippi’s last win was 26-7 in 2007.
The kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. The game is not scheduled to be televised.
Where Jones plans to play college ball is still unknown. He’s had recent visits from defensive coordinators Tyrone Nix of Ole Miss and Jay Hobson of Memphis.
“I want to play in a system that fits me,” Jones said. “I don’t even mind going somewhere and sitting out a season, and work on developing my game.”
Jones knows it takes plenty of hard work and dedication to play at the college level.
“I need to get bigger and add more muscle,” he said, then smiled. “There’s a big gap to close between high school and D1 football.
“College football’s a lifestyle; it’s every day.”
He plans to take five official visits next month before the Feb. 11 signing day. Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss are three of the schools he plans to visit.
“I don’t know about the other two,” he said.

Versatile player
Tupelo defensive coordinator Lamar Aldridge believes his star pupil has the versatility to play a 3-technique (gap between offensive guard and tackle) or a 5-technique (outside shoulder of tackle) at the next level.
“He’s got a lot of potential,” Aldridge said. “He’s a really good pass rusher. If he gains weight, I could see him moving more inside.”
Jones recorded 84 tackles this season despite facing numerous double-team blocks. He also had 12 tackles for losses, seven sacks, 25 hurries, blocked three kicks, caused three fumbles and recovered a fumble.
“He had a good year for us,” Aldridge said. “Like I said, he’s got a lot of potential.”

Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or gene.phelps@djournal.com.