South Carolina and Clemson have no plans to pull their offers for one of the state’s top junior offensive linemen.
Ninety Six tackle Oliver Jones, who is 6-foot-6 and nearly 300 pounds, broke his femur in a preseason scrimmage and will miss the entire 2010 season. However, he’s had surgery and is expected to return to full health in six months or so, Ninety Six coach Chris Liner said.
Liner spoke with Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier last week and USC defensive line coach Brad Lawing on Tuesday. Both told him that they will honor their scholarship offers.
“He should be back by the first of the summer,” Liner said. “He’s a great kid and comes from a great family. Great grades. You name it. He’s one of those that doesn’t come around that often.”
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Jones’ injury came on a freak play. Liner and his staff didn’t want to use Jones at defensive tackle, but personnel deficiencies forced their hand. In a jamboree he reached back to plant his leg and four people rolled into him from different directions, breaking his leg just above the kneecap, Liner said.
The injury hasn’t stopped schools from recruiting him, however. Notre Dame, Oregon, Alabama and many others want him to attend camp next summer. However, USC and Clemson are the only two schools to officially offer him.
Jones projects as a tackle in college.
“I watched him at Clemson’s camp this summer,” Liner said. “Going against some pretty decent competition, they had him at left tackle. He’s got really great feet. He also plays center on our basketball team, so he’s not just a big space eater. He can move. I clocked him in the spring at just under 5.2 consistently, which is not bad for a 300-pound tackle. He runs surprisingly well.”
The last player from Ninety Six to sign with an FBS program was running back Ronald Williams (Clemson) in 1990.