Fourth of July celebrations took on a new meaning this year for Mizzou fans. Tigers fans across the country celebrated things getting back to normal, and yet another strong weekend of recruiting by Eli Drinkwitz.
The weekend kicked off with 4-star running back Tavorous Jones announcing his commitment to Missouri. Rivals currently ranks Jones as one of the 10 best running backs in the country. His performance has garnered enough attention to be viewed as one of the top 150 players nationwide.
If he sticks with his commitment, Jones would be Rivals’ highest rated high school running back to sign with Mizzou... well, ever. He would become the first player ranked inside the Rivals top 150 to sign with the Tigers since Terry Beckner (2015).
This is a big one. Jones is a legitimate blue chip talent. And it’s his style of play that should get you even more excited about what he can bring to the Tigers’ offense. Let’s break down this commitment a bit more.
Where he fits: Jones is a unique “elite” level running back in that he plays all over the field. Jones’ high school team plays him at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. He’s an impressive runner, but it’s his ability as a receiver that really stands out on film. As a sophomore, Jones rushed for 1,134 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns. As a junior, he had 770 total yards and 11 total touchdowns in six games. More than 700 of his 2,500 career yards from scrimmage have come in the passing game. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Tavorus Jones is rated highly because of what he does as a runner, but don't overlook his ability in the receiving game. He has more than 700 receiving yards for his high school team over the past two seasons. #Mizzou pic.twitter.com/NRzwyXVqNE— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) July 5, 2021
It’s not just screens and check downs, either. Jones lines up in the slot or out wide. His highlights feature Jones running comebacks, go routes and in-breaking routes. He’s not just an option in the passing game, he appeared to be the primary target on multiple plays.
The best comparison for Brown’s playing style is probably Derrick Washington. He’s a smooth runner who adds value in the passing game with a dynamic ability in the open field.
When he’ll play: The recruiting ranking speaks for itself; Jones has plenty of talent to play early. But, as is the case for most high school recruits, the question is how he’ll be able to digest a larger college playbook and how he’ll hold up in pass protection. If he can handle the mental side of the game, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody if Jones carves out a role in the offense early in his Mizzou career.
The decisions have been made.— Colin Deaver (@ColinDeaverTV) July 3, 2021
Tavorus Jones (@Tavorus3) to @MizzouFootball.@jeremiah1cooper to @CycloneFB.
The day before they officially made their choice, El Paso’s top football players in the Class of 2022 dropped by @KTSMtv to discuss their choices. #txhsfb pic.twitter.com/qwoMktVe8o
What it all means: Jones is probably the highest profile running back to commit to Mizzou in the last two decades. He has a chance to be a special player for the Tigers. His blend of size, speed and production at the high school level all portend future success in college.
Jones will likely have to compete with Elijah Young, Taj Butts and BJ Harris for playing time beginning in 2022. If all goes according to plan, he could be a feature back in Drinkwitz’s offense by the 2023 or 2024 season.