Throughout the 2019 season, the Central defensive line wreaked havoc on opposing offenses to help the Red Devils return to the state title game. Fast-forward nearly five months, and one of the line’s most important members is finally reaping the rewards.

Central defensive lineman Jamorey Jones received a scholarship offer from Georgia State on Thursday, his first offer so far. The moment was a meaningful one for Jones, a 6-foot-1, 270-pound defensive tackle who is a rising senior for the Red Devils.

“It meant a lot to me. I worked so hard to get an offer, and it finally paid off,” Jones said. “It took blood, sweat and tears to get me to this point, and I’m blessed to be at this point.”

Jones spoke highly of the Georgia State program and said they’re like a family, which is doubly so given some Central connections to the program. The Panthers signed offensive lineman Mason Cook and safety Terrell Gordon as part of the Class of 2020, which is an added bonus for Jones about potentially going there.

Although Georgia State is Jones’ only offer so far, he said he’s also heard from Iowa. Given how he played in 2019, it’s likely more schools will be in contact soon enough.

Jones was a force in the middle of Central’s defensive line last fall and ended the year with 22 tackles — including six tackles for loss — along with five quarterback pressures. His play was crucial on a Red Devils’ defense that only gave up 14.1 points per game and helped the team return to the Class 7A state title game for the second straight season.

“First of all, you can’t block him, man. I can tell you this: he was one of the ones in the middle that is probably one of the strongest kids on that football team when I was there,” former Central coach Jamey DuBose said. “He’s got tremendous strength and tremendous leverage. He’s hard to double team, and he definitely can’t be single blocked. He’s an active guy. He’s quiet, but he plays ferociously. He’s a kid that’ll outwork anybody.”

Jones’ junior season was a special one, but it’s disappointing end has him eager to come back strong in 2020.

“It was a great experience to get back there,” Jones said about returning to the state title game. “I just wish we could’ve won.”

DuBose was taken by Jones’ play on the field, but he stressed how impressive Jones’ work ethic was. The former Central coach recalled one practice where Jones didn’t perform that well, and at the end he walked up to DuBose, apologized, and promised he would do better from now on. DuBose also praised Jones’ natural strength, saying he possesses a strength and power few in any state has.

Jones said he’s spending the offseason working on everything he can, specifically his explosiveness, footwork, strength and speed. He said he’s ready for the start of his senior season, adding the goal is to go back to the state title game and win it this time around.

Jones is the latest of a growing group of Central players who will have a shot at playing at the next level. The Georgia State offer is likely the first of several, and Jones had a message for any college coaches looking his way.

“(I want them to know) that I’m a hard worker,” Jones said. “I always play to win and have fun when I’m playing.”

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