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June 19, 2006Westlake (Calif.) Oaks Christian defensive back Marshall Jones has had an itchy trigger finger all summer, but today was the day he finally fired off his commitment to USC.
The four-star Rivals100 selection decided to end the recruiting process early by choosing USC over Oregon, Michigan, Arizona and others.
Jones becomes the Trojans' ninth commitment in the class of 2007.
"I went down to USC this morning with my parents and we talked to the coaches for a while," said Jones. "We talked about football and academics. The coaches explained that SC was good choice because they have so much to offer on and off the field.
"It just seemed like a good fit, and I wanted to get my decision over with. That's when I told them that I wanted to commit. Coach (Pete) Carroll was really happy and congratulated me on my decision."
Jones had previously played around with the idea of committing to USC with Marc Tyler last week. However, his one-on-one meeting with the Trojans' coaching staff had yet to occur.
"I wasn't quite ready to announce with Marc (on ESPNU), but today was different," said Jones. "It just took seeing the school again to know."
Jones reasons for committing to USC exemplify his desire to become a student first, and an athlete second.
"USC will offer me the best education," said Jones. "That's the main thing. With football, they'll let me go out and prove that I'm a good football player. Basically, they'll give me a chance to play and that's all I want."
Last season, Jones had 71 tackles and five interceptions as a safety for Oaks Christian. Projected as a free safety in college, he's the third ranked player at his position nationally.
However, with his father being a graduate from Harvard, and his mother being a graduate from Loyola and USC, Marshall's family has become increasingly cognizant of his education.
"They were really happy because they like the school and that it's close to home," said Jones, who recently scored a 990 on his SAT. "They were excited about today, and my mom went to USC for graduate school."
For Jones, committing early will give him a chance to continue his strides academically.
"I just wanted to get all the recruiting stuff over because it was getting stressful," said Jones. "Right now I'm just going to focus on my school work. I have to make sure I have all the classes I need this summer, so I can work hard and get ready for next fall."
Will Jones have any regrets about his early commitment as the spotlight of the recruiting process begins to fade?
"I might miss it a little bit, but I'm still glad it's over," said Jones.
USCFootball.com will have more on Marshall Jones' commitment later tonight.