South Carolina running back commitment Tyren Jones found himself in the news Monday for a reason he didn’t expect.
Reports surfaced that Jones would not be signing with the Gamecocks on Wednesday because of academic questions. Jones, who attends Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, did not deny that.
Jones, however, said he never planned to sign with USC, or anyone, on signing day because of his academic situation, and the USC staff understood that.
“I thought that was the plan the whole time,” Jones said. “I wasn’t really sure about signing day and everything, but they told me, based off the NCAA and paperwork and everything, there are some issues there. They told me to just keep holding to my end of the bargain and hold my grades and do what I’m supposed to be doing, working out and getting ready to have a great season. That’s the only issue. I’m still supposed to come in in the summertime.”
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There is still the matter of clearing up some apparent NCAA concerns from his first college stop at Alabama.
“The NCAA saw what happened at Alabama, how everything ended,” Jones said. “I wasn’t going to class and things of that nature, and it just looks like I’m not academic-eligible because of the grades that I had coming from there and back to JUCO. But I’ve been going to class, passing everything, caught up, taking some extra classes, and I’m on schedule to graduate in May, and as soon as I graduate I’m going to South Carolina.”
Jones said he’s been keeping in touch with the USC coaching staff and they are fully aware of his status. He said he talked to his recruiter Monday.
Jones signed with Alabama out of high school in Marietta, Ga., but ran into legal and disciplinary issues and was dismissed from school between his freshman and sophomore seasons. He enrolled last summer at Hutchinson and went on to lead the team in rushing.
The Gamecocks jumped on him quickly once Will Muschamp took over the program, and his only official visit was to USC last month.
Jones fully expects to get the first carry of the season by a running back for the Gamecocks when they open up at Vanderbilt in September.
“I’m very, very hundred percent on that,” he said. “I’ve been determined in trying to get back to the SEC. It’s been a journey. I feel like it’s nearly in reach right now.”