January 7, 2017 5:45:57 PM
STARKVILLE -- Jakoby Jones thought his high school football days were over.
After playing two seasons for the Starkville High School football team and earning the privilege of playing in the 30th annual Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic last month at the Crampton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama, Jones was switching gears from a high school football player to a college player.
But as luck would have it, Jones got one more opportunity to play in a high school game as he found out from former teammate Zach Williams. The offensive lineman was named the Most Valuable Player in the Marcus Dixon High School All-American Senior Bowl Saturday, Dec. 31, as his team won 34-18 at The Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
"I found out by a former teammate that I played with back in the 10th grade. He texted me and was like, 'You know you made the all-star team in Myrtle Beach?' I was like, 'Oh man.' I was shocked, I was excited and I was ready to play," Jones said.
Jones started his high school career at East Oktibbeha High, but it was announced that the Oktibbhea County School District would consolidate with the Starkville School District ahead of school getting underway in 2015.
He decided he still wanted to play football and began practicing with the Yellow Jackets. Jones helped Starkville win the 2015 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A State Championship. But in his final season with the Jackets, they failed to make the playoffs and finished 7-4.
Jones felt like it was a good way to end his high school career, playing in another all-star game and getting to spend a week in Myrtle Beach.
"To meet people from all over the country, getting to play with the them and know them, it was fascinating," Jones said. "I took away how to play with people. I liked it because you get a vacation, but you can play football at the same time. I got time to relax."
Jones joined Starkville teammates Willie Gay and Connor Reinike in the Mississippi-Alabama game, but was the only Yellow Jacket to play in the Marcus Dixon game.
Now that his high school playing days are over, Jones can focus on finding where he is going to play at the next level. He doesn't have interest from any NCAA Division I schools and will go the junior college route. With schools like East Mississippi Community College, Northwest Mississippi C.C., Northeast Mississippi C.C., Itawamba C.C., Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. and Copiah-Lincoln C.C. showing interest in him, Jones has a tough decision to make.
He wants to find the right fit and will sign on National Signing Day, Wednesday, Feb. 1, but he said he doesn't know how he is going to narrow his choice.
"They're all in the same boat, on the same level," Jones said. "I'm going to talk to my mom, take these visits and just see everything.
"I want to go there, get better and go to a university. I want to go to the right JUCO that fits so I can go to the next level."
Jones said there weren't a lot of college coaches at the Marcus Dixon game, so he didn't get a chance to show his skills before a large group of persons.
Although Jones is excited about playing at the next level, he is happy he got one more opportunity to play in a high school game.
"I thought I was done after that until college football. I was just shocked," Jones said.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Ben Wait on Twitter @bcwait
Ben Wait reports on Mississippi State University sports for The Dispatch.
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