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Something Special Brewin? Malcolm Jones Honored As Gatorade National Player Of The Year

Many of us have followed college athletics long enough to know that we shouldn't always get too excited about hype around big time recruits. It is especially true these days in the world of college basketball. Sometimes recruits in hoops such as JF, AA, and KL live up to all the hype. Other times, well I don't think I have to go through the details of the Ben Ball warriors class of 2008 (you can also read the comments in this thread which will go back much further).

Same dynamics also play out in football to a certain extent (even though in football it takes recruits traditionally a year or two to make discernible impact in the program). I think we can write post after posts on who has worked out (MJD, Brian Price, Akeem Ayers, Rahim Moore, XSF) and who hasn't (Ben Olson, Aundre Dean ) in recent years in Westwood. Yet, every once in a while we read and hear about a recruit in football or hoops, and we can't help but hope for something special when everything looks and sounds right about his arrival to Westwood. Well, if you haven't yet then meet Malcolm Jones. He just became the first UCLA football recruit ever to be honored as the Gatorade National High School Player Of The Year:

The LAT writeup provides the eye popping numbers:

Jones, a running back-linebacker, has scored 109 touchdowns in his four-year prep career. This season, he has rushed for 2,156 yards, putting him 40 yards short of tying the single-season school record held by Marc Tyler. He has 36 touchdowns and is nearing 6,000 yards rushing in his career.

Jon Gold from the Daily News had the following comment from MJ's team-mate on how emotional he was yesterday:

"You should have seen the expressions on his face when he was walking out of class," Oaks Christian quarterback Nick Montana said with a wide smile. "He was with his family, biggest smile on his face; I haven't seen him smile like that in a while. He was tearing up a little bit - it was awesome to see."

Well congrats to Malcolm from the entire BN. We have a little more on him after the jump.

Gold sheds a little more light on Malcolm as a student and person off the field:

Jones maintains a 3.46 grade-point average and announced in early October that he would play for UCLA, choosing the Bruins over expected front-runner Stanford. Additionally, Jones is a peer tutor and a youth basketball volunteer referee.

"He's realizes I think that he's really blessed," Marshall Jones Sr. said. "He takes his blessings as something he should utilize for the good of himself and others. And that's what makes me proud of him.

"He's a better person than he is a football player."

He also has the right perspective heading into UCLA next season:

"I really wanted to go to a school where I can really make a name for myself, not just be the "next" star running back at a USC or one of those big-time colleges," Jones said. "I want to prove to everyone that I can really help turn the program around, get them back on top."

Sounds like a Bruin already. lol Here he was few weeks ago reflecting on his team's season, his commitment to UCLA, and the looming CIF playoffs:

Well, Malcolm is going to lead his 13-0 Oaks Christian team into tonight Northwest Division championship game against Gardena Serra. He has played on three consecutive section championship teams.

In terms of some previous history on this award, I should note in hoops it was KL and Jrue Holiday who were also honored as Gatorade NPOY (as I said in my opening grafs, we have mixed records). Previous honorees as Gatorade NPOY includes names such as Peyton Manning, Emmitt Smith and Jeff George. The list also includes Matt disrespected Barkely (won the award in his junior season), who hasn't really done all that much considering the talent he was surrounded with at Southern Cal.

All that said, it's still a big deal. As noted above Malcolm is the first Bruin recruit to win this award. As excited as we all are about him, what I am even more excited is listening to him, he comes as as the perfect Bruin in the mold of ATV. Keeping my fingers crossed, Malcolm experiences the same level of success as our current senior captain both on and off the field starting next year at UCLA.