If 2014 was the year of the defensive back in Texas, 2015 is the year of the running back and one of the hottest prospects in the state is McKinney (Texas) North's Ronald Jones II.
The 6'0, 185-pounder is currently rated as the No. 3 running back overall in the state for 2015 in the 247Sports Composite rankings and the No. 2 pure running back, as Katy (Texas) star Rodney Anderson is considered an all-purpose back by the services. A consensus four-star prospect, Jones II is ranked as the No. 9 running back nationally, the No. 11 player in the state of Texas, and the No. 90 recruit overall.
Jones II saw his stock take off in the early part of 2014 and, as of early March, held offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona State, Baylor, Clemson, Colorado, Colorado State, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Tulsa.
Fans can follow him on Twitter @TheRonaldJones.
It's not easy to stand out in the group of talented in-state backs, but Jones II does so in a big way, starting with his speed, which allows him to easily pull away from opposing defenders in the open field. Jones II reports a 4.41 40 time that doesn't look out of line with his film.
Perhaps more impressive is the fact that he can maintain most of that speed when he cuts, disrupting angles and allowing him to navigate through traffic. In fact, his ability to change directions is absolutely elite.
Jones II likes to work downhill and he's a no-nonsense running who doesn't sacrifice momentum in the name of attempting to give a defender a slick move, getting downhill quickly, but still showing the vision and lateral quickness to bounce runs outside when necessary, but only when dictated by his superior vision.
When the McKinney North product can't merely use his elite footwork to avoid defenders, he's strong enough despite not having a great deal of mass that he can lower his shoulder, get behind his pads, and break tackles and finish runs. Jones II doesn't look like the most powerful back with a relatively thin lower body, but the fact that he's always moving so fast surely helps in that regard.
There's also something slippery about him, especially when he turns his hips to get through small holes, a trait that is reminiscent of Kansas City Chiefs star Jamaal Charles, who can make himself exceptionally narrow to work through traffic.
After racking up more than 2,400 yards as a junior with 39 touchdowns on more than 200 carries, there's no questioning his durability and the film tells the tale of all the physical skills. The rankings may not agree at the moment, but put all those things together and Jones II looks like the top back in the state for 2015.
Based on his offer list, college coaches might well agree.