CLEWISTON — Clewiston High School senior Menta Jones has signed a letter of intent to play football for the Concord University Wildcats in West Virgina.
Jones joined the Tigers football team as a freshman during their 2014 season. Clewiston coach Brad Garret saw promise in the young player almost immediately.
“When he showed up he was young and a little undersized,” said Garret. “But after that first day of fall camp we all knew he was going to be playing varsity football. That 2014 team was just loaded all across the board, so we used him wherever we could find a spot. He played a little at running back, as a pass rusher, and he played safety for us.”
Clewiston went undefeated during their regular season in 2014, losing in the second round of the playoffs to Cocoa Beach. During his sophomore year in 2015 Jones became the starter at running back, rushing for close to 1000 yards that season.
“He is just one of those guys that you can put him anywhere and he’ll pick up on it quick,” explained Garret. “He played safety and corner for us and no matter who we were playing we’d put him on their best athlete. He’s a player that you have to find ways to get the football. Anytime it was fourth down and we needed it, I would just give him the ball. Without a doubt he’s a clutch player.”
Jones proved his ability to come through in the clutch during his last game with Clewiston, a homecoming game against longtime rival Okeechobee.
Down with only a minute remaining in the game. Jones was in the slot position at wide receiver. As quarterback and fellow senior Alquonne Brown took the snap from the center, Jones used his speed to split the Okeechobee safeties down the middle of the field. Brown was then able to hit Jones in stride for the late touchdown.
“Late in that Okeechobee game I talked to Menta on the sidelines,” Garret said, “and I told him that we needed a play. Almost immediately he told me that he’d go out there and split those safeties. I didn’t really think he could because those guys were playing so far back. But sure enough he split them right up the middle and brought us back into that game.”
Jones joins a division II school in Concord who are in desperate need of a clutch player, as the Wildcats went 2-9 during their 2017 season.
“I’ve been around Menta for four years,” said Garret, “and he’s one of those ones that just grow on you. Seeing him walk during senior night was definitely a reality check. I know I’m going to miss him as a football player, but more importantly I’m going to miss the type of kid he was. I think he’s left more of an impact on us as coaches and people then we could have ever left on him.”