The day after Cam’ron Jones de-committed from UCLA, the 4-star safety had three more offers waiting for him.
That was expected following his de-commitment on Dec. 4, Jones said. But he didn’t necessarily enjoy the baggage that came with the offers — the pressure to commit quickly and sign during the early signing period.
Nebraska took a different approach with Jones, telling him he could wait as long as he wanted to sign. That rubbed Jones the right way.
Jones was in class one day when he was called out and told to report to the fieldhouse at his Mansfield (Texas) High School. By this point, Jones had met every type of coach throughout his recruitment. At least, that’s what he thought. Then he met Nebraska running backs coach Ryan Held, who has led Jones’ recruitment.
“We chat. We sit there and chat for an easy hour, and this is our first-day meeting,” Jones said. “We just hit it off — wasn’t even talking about football, just talking about life. And I was like, ‘This is a pretty dope coach.’ ”
Jones figured the rest of the staff would be that way, providing the catalyst for his interest in the Huskers. Then Scott Frost hit him up on Twitter. That caught his attention, too. Eventually, Frost, Held and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander visited him at school.
“Seeing how down-to-earth coaches they are, I said, ‘I’m going to give it a visit,’ ” Jones said. “After my visit, I just was blown away. There’s not much not to like out there. It’s a beautiful campus. The fan base is crazy, too. The history behind things and the tradition behind Nebraska football …”
Jones’ voice trailed off.
“Coach Frost’s story,” he continued. “What he did at UCF with the little resources he had, he could do at Nebraska times 10, you know?”
Jones arrived in Lincoln the weekend of Dec. 15 for his official visit. His friend and high school teammate, Corbin Frederick — who is considering the Huskers as a walk-on — said Jones told him he didn’t want to leave. Jones accompanied Frederick for his visit two weekends ago. Thanks to two successful visits and a burgeoning relationship with the coaching staff, Nebraska is the front-runner for Jones, who is scheduled to announce his decision Saturday night. Ole Miss, which Jones officially visited last weekend, also is considered a finalist. However, the two-year postseason ban gives Jones reason for pause when considering the Rebels.
“The only thing that pulls me back from Ole Miss is the sanctions,” Jones said. “I don’t think I should be punished for something I wasn’t a part of. That’s the one thing I could say about Ole Miss that’s pulling me back.”
One of the reasons Jones de-committed from UCLA was coach Chip Kelly’s decision to not retain former defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin. He said he also felt Kelly would not prioritize defense. That didn’t sit well with Jones. It also speaks to how he wants to carry himself with pride on the field.
“No disrespect to Chip Kelly, but I don’t think he will run what I want to be a part of,” Jones said. “I don’t really want to be a part of this high-scoring team, and the defense is just good enough. I want to be the best defense in the country, with me pursuing trying to be the best safety in my class and eventually at the collegiate level.”
Jones is the No. 26 safety in the class, per the 247Sports composite, but his desire to be the best is evident. Jones said he is versatile and can make plays near the line of scrimmage to combat the running game.
“I think I’m one of the most physical safeties in this class,” Jones said. “I know the game inside and out. I’m rangy. I can return some kicks, I can tell you that. I’m a good return man.”