E.A. Sports Today

Ulric Jones joins South Carolina

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — “God has blessed me with the talent to play football and I will be going to the University of South Carolina.”

With those words and the swipe of a pen Wednesday, Ulric Jones ended a long trek to play major college football.

Jones, a massive defensive end at Butler (Kan.) CC, announced his decision at a news conference at Oxford High School, where he played for three seasons.

He stood before about 50 friends and media a changed man, not only physically but emotionally.

He has gained 40 pounds and grown two inches since his days at Oxford and now stands 6 foot 7 and weighs 290 lean pounds.

“This was the result of a lot of hard work and working with the weights to get better,” said Jones.

And he matured through the process, which had seen him at various times express desires to play for Mississippi State, Alabama, Oregon and, most recently, Maryland.

Fresh out of high school he took the JUCO route to Butler, got his grades together, got better on the football field and was able to position himself to play SEC football.

“People always told me I was destined to play in the SEC, but I made the decision to go to Butler and get things squared away and get better,” Jones said. “I went to Maryland and had a great trip and thought that was where I would go.”

At the last minute South Carolina entered the picture with a promise of immediate playing time and that changed his mind.

“I played defensive end at Butler, but (defensive line) Coach (Deke) Adams told me there was no doubt that I could contribute in the interior line, so that is probably where I will end up.” said Jones. “I had a great sit down talk with Coach (Steve) Spurrier and we talked about playing time, the family atmosphere and the SEC and it was great and where I wanted to be.”

Oxford assistant coach Darrell Cline was among those in attendance and couldn’t be happier for his former charge.

“Ulric is a special young man,” Cline said. “I am proud of the way he commited himself to our program, the Butler program and for what he is now going to do at South Carolina. We love him like he is one of our own kids.”

And Jones had a message for those who came to help him celebrate his big day.

”I want to thank all of you that came today,” he said. “I have had a lot of ups and downs and struggles, but I have gotten myself to the University of South Carolina.”

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