November 6, 2007

Barrett makes decision

Memphis native Barrett Jones is considered one of the nation's top offensive line prospects. This summer, despite having over 30 scholarship offers Jones cut his list of suitors to five lucky finalists. The Evangelical Christian School standout took two official visits so far this year but decided that was all he needed before making his decision. Check the Ultimate Ticket for the full story…

"After much prayer and visits to a number of schools, I have decided to choose the University of Alabama to continue my education and my football career. Coach Saban said he was extremely happy about my decision," Jones said. "He told me that I am an important part of this class because I have the ability, character, and leadership to help build a great team. I am determined to do everything possible to live up to his expectations.

"I am convinced that I can receive a quality education and be part of an outstanding football program at Alabama. I really like the players and coaches that I have met. I have gotten to know some of the recruits and I feel very comfortable with them."

Jones relationship with Tide head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele played a large part in his decision.

"I have been a Nick Saban fan for many years. I had an opportunity to meet him when I was really young. I followed him closely when he was at LSU. I have always respected his work ethic and his commitment to his players," Jones said. "When he chose to become the coach at Alabama, I was very excited because I knew he would steer the program in the right direction. I think he is a brilliant coach and I can't wait to play for him. I believe under Coach Saban, Alabama will have an opportunity to win a National Championship.

"Coach Steele has been recruiting me and he has done a great job. I have a great relationship with him. He is truly a man of unquestionable character and also has a true passion for the game which I greatly admire."

Although he had family connections to the Capstone, Jones indicated he was never pressured in one direction or another and he chose the Tide for more than just football.

"My Dad never pressured me to go to Alabama. He wanted it to be completely my decision. He sacrificed his time (and money) to take me to all the schools I was interested in so that I could make an informed decision," Jones said. "He told me 'If you go to Alabama it will be because that is where you want to go not where I want you to go.' He knows the hard work and determination it takes to be a college athlete, so he wanted it to be 100% my decision.

"I had an opportunity to meet Dr. Witt, the President of the University of Alabama. I was impressed with the vision that Dr. Witt has for the University. He shared with me how he has a mission to make Alabama a school where the academic reputation is as strong as the athletic reputation. He has made significant progress in this goal by starting an Honors College which I will be privileged to be a part of. The Honors College at Alabama fits with my long term academic goals."

Although in the end all things led to Alabama, Jones said he had some great experiences throughout the recruiting process.

"The hardest part of the recruiting process is that you get to know so many great people at different schools and you know in the end you can only choose one school.
I have been blessed to develop relationships with a lot of great men through this process," Jones said. "Coach Williams, Coach Pittman & Coach Davis (UNC), Coach Roper & Coach Fulmer (Tennessee), Coach Belin & Coach Johnson (Vanderbilt), Coach Addazio & Coach Meyer (Florida) are all excellent recruiters and even better men. I have enjoyed getting to know them and I appreciate their interest in me. I will miss talking to them on a regular basis.

"Throughout this process, I kept an open mind and looked closely at each school. My family and I have been praying about my decision for a long time. I've also had many friends, teachers and coaches tell me that they would pray for me throughout the process. I had so many great choices and I wanted to make sure that I made the best choice for me and my family.

"I am truly blessed to have offers from so many great schools. I know I would have had a great experience at any of them, however, I can only choose one. It has been my lifelong dream to play college football in the SEC and I feel so fortunate that I am going to have a chance to fulfill that dream."

Jones, who boasts a 4.7 GPA and 30 ACT score, is impressive in the weight room with a 335-pound bench press, 490-squate and 29-inch vertical jump. He is rated the nation's 9th best offensive tackle and 41st overall prospect by

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