Texas Tech’s mid-year signing haul included three players from a Riverside (Calif.) Community College team that finished 11-0 and ranked fifth in the nation. But there was more where those players came from.
On Thursday, Riverside CC cornerback Bruce Jones made an oral commitment to sign with Tech. He plans to do so when the national signing period begins Feb. 1, then arrive on campus in May.
Jones made four interceptions and 12 pass breakups as a sophomore this season and five interceptions and six pass breakups as a freshman in 2010. He visited Lubbock with his three Riverside teammates last week and was measured at 5-foot-8 on his visit and weighed 175 pounds.
“The (Tech) coaches, I liked the feeling they gave me talking to them,” said Jones, who will have three years to play two seasons for the Red Raiders. “I didn’t feel like just another player. I felt like I was part of a family.
“My coaches at RCC really knew how to get the best out of me. I think that translates over to these (Tech) coaches.”
On Wednesday, Tech signed the Riverside trio of defensive end Lee Adams, linebacker Will Smith and wide receiver-return man SaDale Foster, and Jones participated in the ceremony as well. Jones said Tech offered him a scholarship during his visit, but a review of his academic records showed he still needed more credits that would keep him from enrolling at mid-term like his teammates.
New Mexico State also offered Jones a scholarship, and he said Kentucky had shown strong interest, but hadn’t made an offer.
Jones said he was sold on Tech coach Tommy Tuberville’s motivation to quickly make amends for a 5-7 season.
“He wants to get things turned back around immediately,” Jones said, “and hopefully I can contribute to that.”
The Riverside foursome helped the Tigers end the year on a nation-leading 19-game winning streak, capped by a 31-14 conquest of Saddleback College in the Golden State Bowl. In the bowl game, Jones had a one-handed interception and a 55-yard return.
On the all-Southern California Football Association honor team, Smith and Foster were first-team choices — Foster as the punt-return specialist — and Adams and Jones were second-team selections.
Jones attended Roosevelt High School in Corona, Calif. As a senior, he was a strong safety despite being, he estimated, 5-6 or 5-7 and 160 pounds. He converted to cornerback at Riverside and was a two-year starter.
Jones said he makes up for his size deficit with a 41-inch vertical jump and tenacity.
“I’m a tremendous competitor,” he said. “I think that’s what’s got me here (to be a Division I recruit). When I’m on the field, I’m trying to show I’m the best man out there. I’m playing with some good guys, so it’s not easy to do that.”
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