By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
Louisville High School’s Dontea Jones is a big target — both as a wide receiver and as a college football recruit.
Mississippi State University apparently hit a bullseye with the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Jones earlier this week as he announced he was committed to sign with the Bulldogs when National Signing Day rolls around on Feb. 4, 2015.
Jones, who hauled in 43 passes for 724 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, is considered one of the state’s top receivers in the 2015 recruiting class.
Although he says he intends to take official visits to other schools, Jones said he contacted MSU head coach Dan Mullen and assistant coach Tony Hughes earlier this week to let them know he wanted to be a Bulldog.
“They are trying to rebuild and I think I will be able to come in and help them pretty early,” he said. “It’s a great school and a great campus and I’m just really excited to be a part of what they are doing there.”
Jones says he has some things to work on in order to improve his game between now and when he sets foot on the MSU campus as a Bulldog,
“I really need to work to improve my route running and to find more ways to get involved,” he said. “I also know that when I get to college there will be other big guys there and they can really run. So I just want to get better.”
When it comes to making a list of his biggest catches so far as a Louisville High School Wildcat, Jones doesn’t have to go far to pick out his No. 1 choice. It was a 19-yard scoring pass he hauled in from Wyatt Roberts late in the first half of Louisville’s 30-28 win over Hazlehurst in the 2013 MHSAA Class 3A State Championship Game. Jones ran an out pattern in an effort to get the first down, but after making the catch he turned the ball up field, shook a tackler, and then raced down the sideline for the score that put the ‘Cats up 23-14 at the half.
“I really didn’t think I was gong to score on the play until it happened,” Jones said.
While Jones was one of a group of talented receivers LHS relied on during the 2013 season, things will be different this coming year.
Of the 195 passes caught by Wildcats last season, 142 of them have graduated. Of the 53 remaining receptions, 43 belong to Jones. The same can be said about touchdown receptions, as Jones had 11 of the 38 recorded by LHS. Only one other non-senior caught a scoring pass for the Wildcats last season.
“I know I will be the main focus of the other teams’ defenses next year,” he said. “I am just going to have to work hard and find ways to get open.”