Cayleb Jones Q&A
Route running and football savvy should help the 2012 WR
Cayleb Jones' high school is located only 10 minutes south of Texas' campus. That doesn't mean the four-star Texas signee isn't taking his big move seriously.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound wideout from Stephen F. Austin High is ready to become a Longhorn. Has been since December, actually. Though Jones wasn't able to enroll early, he made the most of his spring by getting a head start with the program.
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Carter Strickland: Jones is going to be ahead of the curve because he was around Texas all spring and went to every practice. So the wide receiver already knows what is to be expected and some of the offensive nuances that the other incoming freshmen receivers do not know.
Jones' stock fell somewhat in the recruiting process because speed was seen as an issue. But Texas doesn't need him to be a deep down the field threat. They have that in Mike Davis, Marquise Goodwin and some others. Because of his size and precise route running ability, Jones could be effective going over the middle when he has to match up against a linebacker. He also can be very effective on fades to the sideline, again due to his size and ability to position himself correct for jump balls.
Jones will most likely tutor under Jaxon Shipley and should find himself running a lot of those same routes. Jones is bigger than Shipley so he could prove to be an easier target for quarterbacks who have been known to be rather erratic.
Mack Brown's take:
Cayleb has great ability. He is tall and fast. He is very strong. His dad played for the Cowboys. Cayleb is a young man who wanted to come to Texas his whole life. I mean I was hearing about him in 7-on-7s in the seventh grade. Being in town, he will be able to come out to spring practice and watch. He, again, can return kicks. He returned kickoffs and punts. Big, tall guy. Got a lot of reach. We are really excited about Cayleb.
HornsNation: You wanted to enroll early at Texas but were unable to. How much did that bother you this spring?
Cayleb Jones: I just did as much as I could as far as going over there and learning what I could, learning plays and stuff like that. I guess I regret not leaving early, but I did learn a lot this whole spring. I worked really hard and I don't know if it would've made too much of a difference.
HN: Since you live nearby, you were able to get permission to use Texas' weight room. Tell me about that experience.
CJ: I signed a whole bunch of waivers to get that approved. I just couldn't be trained by their trainers or strength coaches. It's great. Being around some of the guys was awesome. I learned a lot and got a lot stronger. But it's nothing like it will be this summer.
HN: Which Longhorns did you hang out with during your workouts?
CJ: Oh man, a ton of guys. One of the first guys I ever started hanging with was Jackson Jeffcoat, because my family knew him before. We've been good friends for a while. I'm friends with all the wideouts -- Jaxon Shipley, Miles Onyegbule, John Harris, all of them. Everybody treats me like a little brother. It's a good feeling.
HN: What are your expectations for your freshman year? Do you look at that team and see opportunity to play?
CJ: Yeah, of course. All the freshmen's mentality should be to come in and play and compete for a spot. I'm not going to Texas to sit on the bench. Coach [Bennie] Wylie stressed that to me: He's not going to be easy on me and this is a whole 'nother level and a whole other speed. I'm coming to play and that's the mentality I have. If I work hard hopefully thing will pay off.
HN: Texas had an offense that ran the ball on two-thirds of its plays last season. Do you think you and your fellow freshmen can help that receiving corps make a bigger impact?
CJ: For sure. We all bring different things to the table. Marcus [Johnson] and Kendall [Sanders] are real quick guys with good hands. Kendall is a crazy athlete. I feel I'm really good at going up and getting the ball, and there were some situations when they needed that last year. The older guys will make us better and we'll make them better.
HN: Do you see yourself as a guy who can be one of the leaders of your freshman class? You've know these signees a long time and have been around the program more than most of them.
CJ: I want guys to look at me as a leader. That's how it's been growing up at each level I've played at. I don't see why it should be different now. I want that to be the case, and I want the coaches to be able to depend on me and the players to be able to depend on me. To have that role would be an honor and real flattering, you know?
HN: Do you feel you're best used in space on screens, as a downfield threat or as a guy who goes over the middle? Where do you really see yourself fitting into the college game?
CJ: You know, I've done a lot. I've had a few coaching changes in high school and played in two different offenses, so I know a lot of screen stuff and a lot of deep stuff. Whatever they throw at me, that's what I'll try to perfect. I don't really nail my game down. I'm a football player. Football players can do a lot of different things. I'm not a one-dimensional wide receiver and that's not what I'm going to be.
HN: Do you think you and a lot of these freshmen have a lot to prove when you join the program?
CJ: Everybody is real hungry. I'm hungry to prove people wrong. I know Kendall is hungry to prove he can play wide receiver. Jalen Overstreet is not going to come in and be content with being a backup. A lot of guys are hungry to prove what we can do. When you've got that attitude and you've got that on your team, you'll be successful. I think a lot of freshmen will play and a lot won't play.
HN: Do you think your class will have an easy time with throwing out all the hype and star ratings and handling their expectations?
CJ: As soon as you walk in the door, high school doesn't mean nothing to nobody. You've never scored a touchdown or caught a pass on the college level. It's easy for me to drop that because I realy haven't done too much in high school to be proud of. I mean, I did a lot individually, but my team didn't win anything. When we stepped off the field at the Under Armour game in January, high school ball was over. I didn't run track or play other sports since then. My focus has been on Texas, and that's what it needs to be on.
HN: As an Austin native, are you still going to go home for meals and laundry when you get to Texas?
CJ: No, man. I've got to grow up. I already do my own laundry and stuff like that. Every once in a while I'll pop by my house -- I live 25 or 30 minutes away -- but I'm leaving my house and I'm not going to put that on my mind right now.