Sheridan Jones wasn’t content with spending the next two years considered an elite member of his recruiting class. The top-rated cornerback in 247Sports 2020 rankings instead opted to accelerate his journey toward college football competition, reclassifying as a 2019 prospect.
He announced this development Thursday night and detailed the decision Friday afternoon during a discussion with Land of 10.
“Reclassifying up to 2019 was the best decision for me because I have a minimal number of classes left to satisfy graduation requirements,” Jones said. “My grades are strong, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”
Penn State is among nearly 20 Power-5 programs that must now react to a substantial change in his recruitment timeline. Jones, who turned 17 in October, began receiving scholarship offers before his freshman year from schools such as Florida, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.
This list of options swelled to include Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Ohio State by the time his sophomore season at Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.) kicked off. Each of his first two high school campaigns ended with MaxPreps Class of 2020 All-American honors.
When asked in October what separates him from peers at the position, the 6-foot, 165-pound playmaker told Land of 10 about his physical prowess.
“I’m lengthy, and that’s pretty rare for a cornerback,” Jones said. “I have good instincts, and I like to go up and make plays on the ball. I can also come down for run support whenever needed.”
However, it was his description of an internal competitive nature that most stood out.
“I’ve always tried to play with the mindset that I’m the best cornerback in my class,” Jones said. “I know I just have to play with that mentality: I’m the best at what I do and I can’t let anybody show me up.”
Now rising into a new collection of recruits, his outlook remains unwavering.
“I want to prove I’m the best overall in the country no matter the class,” he said.
Penn State extended an offer Oct. 11, and hosted Jones less than two weeks later. He attended the Nittany Lions’ 42-13 victory over Michigan, joining a record-setting Beaver Stadium crowd (110,823).
“It was just amazing, from beginning to end, being a part of history with the record,” Jones said afterward.
James Franklin, juggling coaching duties for a crucial conference showdown with his role as host of a monumental recruiting event, made sure to share conversation with the coveted cornerback that evening.
“He told me Penn State is the place to be,” Jones said. “Coach Franklin appreciated me making the visit, and he really wants to see me in that blue and white.”
Though Jones hasn’t yet heard from the Nittany Lions regarding reclassification, it’s something he previously discussed with defensive recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks coach Terry Smith.
“I talked to Coach Smith about it already and he told me he was all for it,” Jones said. “I plan to get to Penn State also soon.”
He currently has two upcoming campus trips planned. Clemson offered Thursday and will host him Jan. 20. Jones will then travel to Tennessee, spending time with the new Volunteers staff.
His goal is to spend these next few months reassessing options on a freshly altered recruiting trail.
“I’m pretty much open right now,” Jones said. “I want to see what’s coming due to the reclass. I want to narrow my list down late spring, early summer.”
He will enroll at the university of his choice in the summer of 2019.
Watch Jones’ sophomore-season highlights here: