If you’re starting to see a trend after the Cordale Flott and Jay Ward articles from earlier, you would be correct. Corey Raymond definitely has a type and all three fit the bill. Taller corners with a long, lanky frame that he sends over to Moffitt to bulk up and become dominant corners. When Raymond sees a recruit he wants, he becomes adamant in his pursuit, and Raydarious Jones was one of those guys.
Even when Mississippi State and Ole Miss are not competitive on the field, they are still tough to beat when it comes to recruits from their state. LSU has had its hits and misses in the state, more the latter surprisingly, and even had a miss at the same high school (Nakobe Dean, who wound up at Georgia).
Early on, it appeared that the Bulldogs were the clubhouse leader to reel in Raydarious with the Rebels right there with them. Then, a summer visit to Baton Rouge had the Tigers surging ahead into the thick of things. The season went along and it seems Jones and his Horn Lake teammate Dean were both headed to Mississippi State, but things in recruiting are fluid and momentum started shifting. An official visit to LSU gave the Tigers the lead, but a visit to Starkville the following week gave Tigers fans a reason for pause with their excitement. After getting home and thinking things over, Jones announced his commitment to LSU on the first day of the Early Signing Period.
110 - 101 = Franchise Player. One of the best players to come along in years, if not decades. Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has “can’t miss” talent.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career. There will be 32 prospects ranked in this range in every football class to mirror the first round of the NFL Draft.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who is projected to play professionally.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country. Many three-stars have significant pro potential.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.
247 Composite Rating: ****
247 Composite Ranking: .8908
Jones was a hard person to grade for recruiting insiders as you’ll see shortly. All the film to be found was as him playing QB for Horn Lake, a position he was not going to play in college. Everyone knew he was a corner, but could not fully see what he was capable of. That’s why it is not surprising that he jumped up nearly 200 spots in the rankings in the first adjustments following the summer months. Raydarious showcased his abilities to shut down receivers at numerous summer camps that made him such a fierce SEC battle.
Like I mentioned, herein lies the problem. There’s not much ability to scout Jones based off over five minutes of him playing quarterback. You definitely see his athleticism once he takes off running. His speed and agility made him a dual threat leading the Horn Lake offense. It will be on Raymond to get him fully adapted to being a full-time cornerback.
Sounding like a broken record, Jones is going to have to same problem as Flott and Ward with the roadblocks called Kristian Fulton, Derek Stingley and Elias Ricks. The starting cornerback spots on the outside appear to be locked up for the next couple of years barring something unforeseen. However, there is depth playing time to be had, and a spot to secure as the next in line if something happened.
High End: Raymond turns Jones into the elite full-time cornerback we all expected, making life difficult for Elias Ricks to earn that starting spot next season while providing solid depth.
Low End: The transition to being a full-time cornerback is a lot tougher, allowing fellow freshmen Ward and Flott to settle in above him on the depth chart with the 2020 class arriving.
Realistic: It’s hard to gauge where he will land without a clear glimpse at what he can do on the defensive side of the ball. He has done a good job so far filling out his frame since arriving on campus, and Raymond has a solid track record of developing cornerbacks. Jones will provide great depth so at least the Fiesta Bowl debacle won’t happen again.