The Texas Longhorns grabbed another big-time defensive end when Kilgore’s Dominique Jones gave Mack Brown his commitment to play for Texas. Inside Texas spoke with both Jones and his high school coach, Mike Vallery, about his commitment, what UT sees in Jones and more.
Despite the interest, despite the offers from other schools, Kilgore defensive end Dominique Jones only had Texas on his mind.
“It was a real big dream for me and it came true. I love it,” said an elated Jones.
Jones made the trip down to Austin for Texas’ Junior Day on Saturday, watched the team work out at the Denius practice fields and then met with Texas head coach Mack Brown in his office and that’s when he received his offer. He spent a while reflecting on the decision, but said, in the end, it was an easy one. He certainly was less nervous than his mother.
“My mom was overwhelmed by the whole thing,” said Jones. “She’s really proud of me.”
Someone who isn’t surprised in the least by Jones’ decision is his high school coach at Kilgore, Mike Vallery, who told Inside Texas that he’s happy that his star athlete is getting to go to the school he wanted to and has been a fan of.
“It’s something he’s always dreamed about,” said Vallery. “He knew what he wanted. He wanted Texas and it was like a dream come true for him.”
Jones will also get to join three of his closest friends in Austin. Texas defensive end Eddie Jones, offensive guard Britt Mitchell and offensive guard Michael Huey all went to Kilgore with Dominique.
“I know those guys really well,” said Dominique. “They’re my best friends.”
They were also a big part of his recruitment. Jones talked frequently with the three Longhorns about what things were like in Austin and what he could expect if he chose to come their way.
“They were always saying I’d love it there and that the whole team was a brotherhood, a real family. I wanted that and it’s a big reason why I game my commitment,” said Jones.
“Michael, Eddie and Britt had a lot to do with it,” said Vallery. “To have those three friends, three teammates already down there for you is a great thing.”
With no DE commits in the class of 2008, Texas was in need of defensive ends for 2009 and the Horns picked up a pair on Saturday when both Jones and Kyle Kriegel of Elysian Fields High School gave their commitments to Texas. Kriegel put up 128 tackles and 15 sacks last season, helping Elysian Fields to the Class 2A Division II state championship game. Jones was less prolific in the stat column last season (75 tackles, four and a half sacks), but Vallery said that anyone who watches Jones play knows why Texas wanted him.
“You can see it. You can see the potential,” said Vallery. “He’s 6-3, 230, but he’s a lean 230 and he’s got a whole lot of speed for someone who’s that big. Besides all that, there are other things. He’s got great character. He’s got the grades.”
Vallery said that Texas specifically pointed to Jones’ ability to rush off the edge and his potential as reasons for offering a scholarship. Whatever the cause for the offer, Jones is now committed to Texas and committed very early. Jones told IT that he liked the idea of an early commitment because he won’t have to deal with the rigors of the recruiting process.
“I didn’t want to go through that,” said Jones. “I want to be able to focus on school and on my senior year.”
It’s not going to be a concern for Jones anymore. The recruiting process is now done for the talented defensive end from Kilgore and the dream finally came true.