As a Recruit
Jay Jones had a quick and uneventful recruitment with Georgia Tech. He announced that he would be taking an official visit to the Flats on January 15, received his offer on the visit, and committed on the spot. Jones joined a strong line of Alabama option QBs to sign with Georgia Tech under Paul Johnson, and will aim to be the successor to perhaps the most successful, Justin Thomas.
Disclaimer: The film above is from his Junior Year. There does not appear to be any publicly available film of him from his Senior year. Jones may have progressed in his final year.
Jones is most impressive as a runner, and shows a multi-faceted skill set that will serve him well in Power 5 football. The biggest skill that stands out on film is his top-end speed. His acceleration is good, but his top gear is on another level entirely. He routinely beat defenders who looked to have an angle on him, and used his speed to scorch entire secondaries repeatedly on film. His high top-end speed is facilitated by a long stride, but he does a good job of shortening up his stride in closed space in order to increase his foot speed. This allows him to make quicker cuts and keep his balance when defenders grab at his legs. It also allows him to accelerate quickly once his blockers eventually do open up a lane.
Jones wields a nasty stiff arm, which was a pleasant surprise. Most QBs don't quite have the ability to plant defenders in the dirt quite like Jones did on a couple occasions. It's unlikely that he will be able to use his stiff arm to the same extent in college, but it is promising to see his willingness to get physical. He also regularly shrugged off arm tackles and showed the balance necessary to glance off hits to the upper body. However, he never really shows the ability to run through defenders to get the tough yards, so don't expect the next Josh Nesbitt.
As a passer, Jones is a bit of a mixed bag. He has a decently strong arm, and I was impressed by his ability to extend the play without abandoning the pass. He keeps his eyes downfield and progresses through his reads while scrambling, showing poise that is rare at the high school level. He always seems to know where his "hot read" is, and was able to do a great job of avoiding negative plays as a result.
Jones does need to work on his timing and accuracy once he arrives at Georgia Tech. many of his throws down the field in high school were under-thrown, and some of his quick slants were slightly behind ideal placement. That can be worked on with practice, but it will take time. His footwork can also become sloppy when he is scrambling, and there were times where he barely planted his feet before letting go of the ball. That may work in high school, but will not work in Power-5 college football.
Finally, please tuck the ball away Jay, you're making me nervous watching a highlight tape!
What to Expect
Expect Jones to redshirt this year as he learns the intricacies of Paul Johnson's offense. Once Justin Thomas graduates, Jones will join a wide-open competition to replace him. He will compete with Matthew Jordan, Christian Campbell, Lucas Johnson, and perhaps TaQuon Marshall. If Jones doesn't win the competition, expect him to move either to A-back or Safety. At A-back, he will be able to use his top-end speed to be a constant home run threat for the offense. On defense, he has the ability to be a rangy Safety with elite pursuit speed. No matter the final position, Jones has a special athletic skillset that will allow him to be successful.