Julian Jones, one of the top football recruits in the state of Alabama, passed away on Monday from an apparent suicide, according to the Madison County (Ala.) coroner.
Jones, 16, was a junior on the Hazel Green football team, and was quickly rising in the recruiting ranks.
Jones was a 6-5, 230-pound two-way starter at defensive end and tight end. His powerful tenacity and strength were earning him interest from SEC teams like Auburn, South Carolina and Mississippi State. Jones was also the son of former NFL tight end, Anthony Jones.
Hazel Green’s head football coach Matt Putnam was optimistic about Jones’ potential heading into the 2014 season. Jones was considered a top 20 recruit in the state of Alabama, and held the attention of many major schools. A teammate released of photo of what appears to be a stack of recruiting mail from Division 1 schools, with letters Indiana, Mizzou and Ole Miss shown atop the pile.
Prior to the season, Putnam was very optimistic about Jones’ potential for the upcoming year. He was a quickly rising talent with an NFL pedigree and an elevated football IQ.
“[Jones] understands the game really well. He’s very athletic, big and long,” Putnam said.
Putnam, as well as many teammates, took to twitter to express condolences, describing Jones as a brother and great person.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Jones family, as well as the Madison County and Hazel Green community.
*Section Photo and Featured Photo (above) credit to Eric Schultz, AL.com