The Oklahoma State Cowboys bolstered their 2015 recruiting class on Sunday when 4-star running back Ronald Jones II announced his commitment.
Brian Perroni of 247Sports broke the news:
Jay Fielder of Rivals.com noted the impact Jones' commitment has for the Cowboys in labeling him an "elite" ball-carrier:
Can't overstate the impact of Ronald Jones' commitment for #OkState. Elite RB that 2015 class, likely a small one, can be built around.— Jay Fielder (@Fielder29) April 6, 2014
ESPN.com's Max Olson outlined the sensational statistics Jones posted in his junior season at McKinney North High School in Texas, suggesting he does indeed deserve consideration as an elite prospect:
New Oklahoma State RB commit @TheRonaldJones rushed for 2,406 yards and 39 TDs as junior. Pokes land one of DFW's best.— Max Olson (@max_olson) April 6, 2014
Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy was excited to learn of Jones' decision:
Pistols Firing from McKinney, TX. Welcome to the FAMILY #BeACowboy— Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) April 6, 2014
One enviable attribute that can distinguish the best backs from the rest is field vision, which, according to 247Sports' profile of Jones, is his biggest strength. On a scale of one to 10, with the latter number being the highest, Jones received a mark of nine in vision, feet and change of direction.
That provides an idea of what Jones brings to the gridiron—and the likely impact he will have in Stillwater in the coming years.
Jones is listed as the No. 8 running back in the class of 2015 and is the 86th-ranked prospect overall, per 247Sports' composite rankings. With a 6'0" frame and already weighing 185 pounds, there is room for more bulk as Jones prepares to adjust to the next level, which shouldn't sacrifice any of his best characteristics.
How should Oklahoma State handle Ronald Jones II?
Gundy oversaw the development of current San Francisco 49ers running back Kendall Hunter, so if Jones continues progressing at his current rate, dreams of being a professional are at least feasible. The Cowboys have had a high-powered offense for most of Gundy's tenure, so Jones should thrive as he gets to the next stage of his football career.
With a time of 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash, per his 247Sports profile page, there's no question Jones is a home-run threat who can score from anywhere on the field, evident in the 39 touchdowns he put up as a junior. As long as he manages to stay healthy as a high school senior and continue to produce, excitement for Oklahoma State fans should continue to grow.
Running backs do have shorter shelf lives in the modern era, though, so perhaps Jones—despite his tantalizing talent—will be eased into a role as the No. 1 back as he adjusts to college. The hope is that he can use his unique vision and shiftiness in the open field to become an explosive, big-play threat for the Cowboys and become the latest success story to be stimulated in Stillwater.