Samaj “Maj” Jones, a Class of 2024 QB, isn’t a big college football fan.
But the Philadelphia native knows all about Penn State, admires the program’s tradition and, as any high school player would be, was ecstatic when offensive coordinator Mike Yuricich offered him a scholarship to play there Friday, June 17, two days after Jones attended Penn State’s Elite Showcase III.
“Penn State was my first Big Ten offer,” Jones, a rising junior at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philly, said, “which was new to me. So I was very excited.”
Jones, who has also has offers from Akron, Boston College, Bowling Green, Louisville and Temple, is a dual-threat quarterback (1,276 yards passing, 906 rushing and 27 total touchdowns in 11 games last season) who prides himself in his ability to direct an offense at such a young age.
“I believe that, if you play the quarterback position, you have to know everybody’s job on the field, and you have to be able to do everything that is asked of you by the coach,” Jones said. “I pride myself on being able to coach everything that we do on the field.”
He’s had people tell him that he resembles a young Jalen Hurts, who quarterbacked at Alabama and Oklahoma and now is the starter for Jones’ beloved Eagles and is his favorite player.
St. Joe’s offense relies heavily on run, pass, option plays, which can also be said about Yurcich’s offense at Penn State.
Jones first met Yurcich earlier this year when the coach visited St. Joe’s.
They shook hands and exchanged a few words but didn’t truly start to build a relationship until the showcase.
Jones said Yurcich was impressed by his accuracy, timing and footwork. After the camp, Yurcich told Jones the good news in person.
The bond that the two have begun to share is another reason Jones is excited to have an offer from Penn State
“We’re slowly building that relationship,” he said. “Although we met a few months ago, we hadn’t connected (until) recently when I was down there. He’s a really great guy.”
Being at the camp also gave Jones a chance to walk into Beaver Stadium for the first time.
His big takeaway from Penn State’s home wasn’t an unusual one.
“It’s huge,” Jones said. “I mean, the stadium is huge, so everything you’d expect playing at one of the biggest college football programs ever.”
So will Jones get to play on that field with a full stadium in the background instead of an empty one? That won’t be known for a few years.
Of Jones’s six DI offers, Penn State is one of three power five ones. It’s way too early to speculate on where Jones will commit, but he’s certainly thinking about Penn State.
“There’s nothing better than playing football in the Big Ten with some of the best schools in the country and some of the best schools to ever host college football,” Jones said. “Penn State would definitely be one of my top schools.”
Regardless of whether Jones ever signs with Penn State, getting an offer from the school is a fantastic feeling and getting offered by Yurcich, who has a reputation as a quarterback guru, made it sweeter.
“A lot of offers are kind of given out, but I really feel like I earned this one,” he said. “I really feel like it’s more real that I connected with someone like him.”