Tennessee is in catch-up mode with Christion Jones.
The Vols have made a nice early impression on Jones, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back from Minor High School in Adamsville, Ala.
Jones has UT in his top five along with Auburn, Florida, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame. He said Auburn and Florida are his top two schools.
Jones said he likes new UT coach Derek Dooley and his staff. Jones said he just needs more time to get to know them.
“It’s going to be probably a long while,” Jones said. “With them being new you have to see their personality and how they communicate with you. Doing that will help me know more about them.”
Jones knows UT needs help in the secondary.
That’s why he believes he could contribute for the Vols immediately in 2011.
“I really think I could come in there and make an impact as a freshman,” said Jones, who could play cornerback or safety in college.
Jones already knows one of UT’s future players.
His former teammate, linebacker Raiques Crump, signed with the Vols in February and plans to enroll in summer school in June.
Jones said he’s heard plenty about UT from Crump.
“He’s telling me a lot about them,” Jones said. “That would be a great thing to go with one of my former teammates.”
Still, it’s hard to tell how much of an influence Crump will make on Jones’ decision.
“Probably a little,” Jones said. “I’m not going to say a lot because I try to go by my own instincts.”
His instincts right now say Auburn.
Jones said the Tigers lead Florida in his top two.
He pointed to his relationship with coach Gene Chizik and the staff at Auburn.
“When I went down last time I had a chance to interact with the coaches and player,” Jones said. “I think I can come in right away and fit in with Auburn.”
Jones said he’s been impressed by Florida’s ability to develop players for the NFL.
The Gators had two defensive backs, Joe Haden and Major Wright, who were selected in last month’s NFL draft.
“If you want a place to help you get to the next level that is a good choice,” he said. “Those guys are well coached.”
Alabama could be a school to watch for Jones. The Crimson Tide hasn’t offered but has shown interest.
Alabama would immediately put itself in contention if it decides to make Jones an offer.
“They would probably squeeze into the top three,” he said.
Jones said he hopes to take unofficial visits to UT, Auburn, Florida and Notre Dame this summer.