For the second straight week, the Heel Tough Blog hit the road to get a look at another skill position player. After getting a look at one running back commit earlier this season back in Week 1 with Eijah Burris, Friday night gave us a look at 2020 3✮ RB D.J. Jones as he and his Pine Forest Trojans traveled to cross town rival Westover for a rivalry matchup. Let’s breakdown Jones performance on Friday night in the Trojans 33-30 thrilling victory.
Jones started the game strong, carrying the ball four times for 70 yards and breaking off a 45 yards run that would put Pine Forest up 13-0 early in the first quarter. Jones’ first half would come to an abrupt end, though, on the next drive when he went down with a left ankle injury. Jones would miss the remainder of the first half, but would return with the ankle heavily taped for the second half. Jones would show immediately that the injury wasn’t a concern, ripping off back-to-back carries of 17 and 13 yards to begin the second half. Jones would come up big in the fourth quarter, hitting the endzone twice, including the 7-yard game-winning touchdown run with 2:00 minutes left in the game. Jones finished the game with 203 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17 carries, an average of 11.9 yards per carry.
Jones might be the most dynamic running back for the Tar Heels in this 2020 class. He has top end speed, but the most impressive thing about him is how quickly he is able to go 0 to 100. That burst allows him to slip through the front seven and then burn past the secondary to break off big carries. The other aspect of his running ability that is extremely encouraging is his patience. Most running backs, especially at the high school level, are trying to play at 100 mph from the snap of the football. For running backs, patience is a virtue, and Jones has some of the best that I’ve seen from any high school running back that I’ve personally seen. We’ve been talking about the speed and patience of Jones, but don’t think that he doesn’t run with a bit of an edge. Don’t get me wrong; he’s not as powerful as say Javonte Williams, but he has just enough edge to run through a defender or two at the next level. Current Tar Heel running back Michael Carter is a good comparison for what type of running back Jones could be at the next level.
Two other players had big night’s on the ground in this one that deserve recognition. Jones’ teammate Ahmad Simon tallied 81 yards and a touchdown in what was a breakout game for him. Meanwhile, Westover’s rushing attack was led by a huge night from Keyshown Lindsey, who finished with 201 yards of total offense and two touchdowns on 20 touches.
The Heel Tough Blog, unfortunately, will not be able to make the scheduled trip out to Jacksonville, NC for a look at 2020 4✮ S commit Ja’Qurious Conley due to some scheduling difficulties. As of right now this Friday’s location is undetermined, but make sure to listen in to my coverage of the Charlotte Kickoff Showcase where 2021 4✮ ILB target Power Echols and Vance High School will be in action on WFNZ (610 AM in Charlotte or through the Radio.com app).