In His Own Words
Elijah Jones – DB (Upland High, CA)
…hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, so with all the talent that we have and all the hard work that talent has been putting in, it’s safe to say we have some high expectations for this upcoming year.
By Elijah Jones
Ending the season the way we did, losing in a rout by 30, as a team we definitely went into this offseason with a chip on our shoulders. This past season was a learning experience for all the players and the coaching staff. Despite blowout losses to Mater Dei, Oaks Christian and Corona Centennial (also an upset loss to Glendora), and the turmoil we faced with key players and coaches being suspended from the team, we still managed a 9-4 record and a 4th consecutive trip to the semifinals. Most of our starting lineup on both sides last season were underclassmen, with most never even having stepped foot onto the field during a varsity game; so close yet so far, our trip to the semifinals left us hungry for more.
With the amount of talent coming back to our team, many scouts made their way to our school during the spring to check out some of the guys, most notably guys like Tyler Hilinski, Kameron Powell, Josh Woods, Gary Baker and some others. We all started to pick up some offers (the teammates I mentioned all have PAC-12 offers) and the team looked good throughout the spring, we were really beginning to gel; something we missed last year. Our coaches challenged us as a team to work together towards our goals; a league championship, CIF championship, and finally a state championship. We were definitely moving in the right direction.
During the summer I got to tour some schools that offered; Air Force, Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth (during the spring I had already visited some other schools that offered; SDSU, SJSU). Academics come first and foremost in my household so the Ivy League schools and the service academies were something that drew interest from me and my family, because of the academic prestige these schools hold while still playing high-level football. I’m not knocking any other school that has offered me but it’s no secret that these schools are in a league of their own academically and would set me up for life after football. We were impressed with all these schools, each one had something unique to offer aside from the weight their names held in the academic community. It will be tough to make a decision (11 offers; SJSU SDSU, Hawaii, Nevada, Montana, Air Force, Navy, Dartmout, Yale, Harvard and Penn).
Going into this fall, we definitely have what it takes to go the distance. With the hours we’ve put in on and off the field, if we take care of business I don’t see anything that can get in our way. There’s an old saying that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, so with all the talent that we have and all the hard work that talent has been putting in, it’s safe to say we have some high expectations for this upcoming year.