By John Davis, Sports Editor
Quin Jones made the toughest decision of his life Wednesday morning. <>
The Lafayette High linebacker picked East Mississippi over Northwest in the battle of junior college national champions. In the end, Jones just felt like playing for head coach Buddy Stephens was the right call.
“In a way, it was 51 percent East and 49 percent Northwest. They were a close second to me,” Jones said. “It was either Northwest or East for me. When I went down to East Mississippi, it felt like home. It seemed like the coaches really wanted to coach me. It was just an enjoyable process being down there. It felt like family down there.”
Running back Tyrell Price will join Jones at EMCC. Jones actually thought they wouldn't play together, that Price was going to choose to play for the Rangers, who won the NJCAA national championship.
“I thought we were going to end up playing against each other but it's a blessing to be playing with Tyrell,” Jones said. “To play one more year with him, it's a blessing. I want to get out in a semester, but if I end up playing with him another year or two, it will be good to have him there. It's going to be like Lafayette again, making plays.”
The Lions will run a 4-2-5 scheme, and Jones will play an outside linebacker/safety role that will allow him to cover wide receivers and tight ends.
“I feel like I played in the box for so long that I wanted to play out in space,” he said. “I want to show my athleticism and that I can cover those slot guys.”
Price, who set the single-season touchdowns scored record this fall, started to get noticed by the Lions when Lafayette played at Louisville.
“East was my second offer after Northeast. I said they must really take me seriously and I got with them right after that,” Price said. “Coaches compete to get players and knowing that they were one of my first offers, I felt like they really thought good of me. I have a good relationship with the coaches. They stay in contact with me, seem really concerned. They call me and text me. I like the fact that they do that. It makes feel good about the relationship I have with the coaches.”
Price added that he was stressed about his decision about choosing EMCC over Northwest.
“I really didn't want to be so close to home and I feel like I can have the same opportunity there and at East,” Price said. “You're going to have to work hard anywhere you go. I'm still going to have to work hard to keep that position. It's going to be work everywhere you go, so I picked the school that I liked. Me and Quin are close. We're neighbors, we're together all the time. Just having a teammate like that is going to be real fun.”