Texas A&M freshman wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones was one of the most heavily recruited high school players in the nation before he committed to the Aggies last December.
According to his father, Chester Jones, the 5-star wideout left a $600,000 deal on the table from a collegiate powerhouse before ultimately choosing College Station as his new home.
CBS News reporter Armen Keteyian collaborated with Sports Illustrated's Jeff Benedict to author a new book entitled, The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football, in which the duo tackle various layers and angles of college football that the casual fan would never see.
As reported by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports, Keteyian is speaking out in advance of the book's release by sharing some of the more mind-blowing details from his investigation on the subject, and the news on Seals-Jones is quite shocking.
According to Keteyian (via Wetzel), there's a full chapter in The System devoted to the recruitment of the former Sealy High School star.
Per the report, a "top-20 program" offered Seals-Jones and his family "$300,000 in cash, use of a luxury suite during football season, eight season tickets and $1,000 per month for Ricky and $500 for the family" if he signed their national letter of intent.
The elder Jones took it a step further, claiming that the offer was "a lot higher than that," and that in addition to the $600,000 offer, one ACC and one SEC school offered to double any monetary figure the Seals-Jones family was weighing from another program.
In the end, Seals-Jones and his family rejected all of them "out of principle and the fear of inevitably getting caught."
247Sports' composite rankings listed Seals-Jones as the No. 25 player nationally in the 2013 class. He was also ranked as the No. 2 athlete in the nation and the No. 2 player in Texas.
Seals-Jones is expected to play an important role as a freshman in Kevin Sumlin's offense this year. The young wideout has been mixing in with the first team on occasion, according to a tweet from Aggie Sports:
Ricky Seals-Jones got first team reps at today's practice. Worked all four plays out of the slot. Caught three passes, including a TD.— Aggie Sports (@Aggie_Sports) August 20, 2013
Listed at 6'5", 230 pounds, Seals-Jones was a standout on both sides of the ball in high school. As you can see from this highlight film, he was an impressive physical specimen as both a quarterback and safety.
Since his size and hands make him an ideal receiving target for Johnny Manziel and the Aggies offense, Sumlin has been working Seals-Jones in the mix as a receiver—the position many analysts projected him to transition to once in college.
As noted by Aggie Sports, SEC teams might have their hands full when Texas A&M is in the red zone in 2013:
In one set this afternoon, Aggies went two-tight. Your two receivers? Mike Evans and Ricky Seals-Jones. That's a lot of size, folks— Aggie Sports (@Aggie_Sports) August 21, 2013
Ironically, Seals-Jones hails from the same school as former SMU and NFL running back Eric Dickerson, who opened up about some of the recruiting tales of his youth during the ESPN 30 for 30 production, Pony Excess.
It appears Dickerson and Seals-Jones now have more than just their high school in common.
The Seals-Jones recruiting saga is hardly the tip of the iceberg, according to Keteyian, who informed Wetzel of various subplots in his new book that will have college football fans everywhere rushing to the nearest bookstore.
Among those storylines include Texas Tech's firing of Mike Leach, Ohio State's "Tattoogate" scandal and the tutoring situation at the University of Missouri, in which football and basketball players were being paired with female students in compromising settings.
Whether you feel recruiting violations are commonplace in the NCAA today or not, the kind of cash reportedly offered to Seals-Jones and the accompanying details in Wetzel's article are too hefty to ignore.