LITHONIA — DawgNation will be in Texas for the next week covering QB Carson Beck at the Elite 11 and then the five other UGA commitments (plus a legion of top targets) at The Opening. It will be odd watching the nation’s top OLs at work without seeing 5-star Georgia pledge Broderick Jones there, too.
Jones was the first 5-star to commit to the class well over a year ago. He still rates as the second-highest commitment in the class. The Lithonia High rising senior is the nation’s No. 2 OT for the 247Sports Composite ratings. It also slots him as the nation’s No. 20 overall prospect.
That’s pretty sporty for a guy who skipped all the mid-winter and spring evaluation camps.
But he’s not out there representing the program like other commits in the class. There is a reason for that.
The last time he visited Georgia, he told Lithonia offensive line coach Robert “Ham” Hamler something that continues to stick out.
“I’m good,” he said to Hamler. “That’s it for me. I don’t want to come back here until I can play.”
Jones wasn’t at G-Day. Or the scavenger hunt. But that “I’m good” statement helps place all of that into context.
He does love the fit at Georgia. The family feels that are always there with the coaching staff help, too.
Those visits tease him. They can be equated to putting the keys to a shiny new red sportscar in front of a 17-year old and telling him it is theirs. It was the one they wanted, too.
But the stipulation there is that teen cannot drive it until their next birthday. That is what this sounds and feels like.
“I’m still pretty solid to Georgia with all of that,” Jones said. “I really like the offensive line coach. I know [Sam Pittman] can get it done and he can get me to the next level and things of that nature.”
Jones said he does want to take all five of his officials. Auburn still reaches out to him as much as any school here as well.
Covering his recruiting feels like what things might have been like before social media.
That’s because Jones is his own man in this class. He doesn’t do camps. He is not going to be seen on a lot of visits or tweets.
“I’m really not into those camps and all that,” Jones said. “I’m not into it like that … I’m just not all into the hype. The social media type of guy. I’m just here for the work and to get it done. To get things done. To track down my goals. I’ve got business to take care of and I’ve got a lot to work to do to get there.”
Jones did say that he does text weekly with Pittman on the Georgia staff.
Broderick Jones was the first 5-star recruit to commit to the Georgia class for 2020. He did it well over a year ago. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
What the 2019 model Broderick Jones looks like right now
This is a week where the nation’s elite will go at in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. They will do so at the training camp home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
But it will be hard not to think of what Jones did this week at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp in Dekalb County. The Lithonia staff said that Jones logged more than 500 snaps in that camp. He was beaten on no more than one or two occasions.
He stayed in the game after a slight injury on one of those.
“I just want to be as proficient at what I can do as possible,” he said. “As effective as possible. To help my teammates get right and motivate them and keep them on track.”
There was a snap where he lost his helmet and still kept walloping his man. That play was just one of scores of dominating blocks on future Saturday players. He even gave one defender an Uber ride to the track circling the turf fields at James R. Hallford Stadium in Clarkston.
“It has been a lot of work but he’s finally becoming that dominating guy and that leadership guy we’ve been wanting to see out of him for his senior year,” Hamler said.
His Lithonia Bulldogs clashed with programs like Mays and Westlake, among others. Jones stood out in those simulated games against schools. Some of those were against bigger schools from higher classifications.
That FCA camp was real football with teams running actual plays against one another. It was everything a real scrimmage would be minus the special teams. These teams were in full pads from the waist up.
“I can feel myself improving in many different ways,” Jones said. “My weakest spot was the inside rush and I fixed that like one hundred percent. That was my only downfall or weakness with my competition. The inside moves. But I fixed that all the way.”
Broderick Jones is getting bigger but staying lean