Written By: Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)
The Hoosiers hosted a talented group of athletes Saturday during its Junior Day. Among those in attendance were Chicago's Wendell Phillips High School teammates Amir Watts and Amani Jones. The two made the trip down from the Windy City to catch the Hoosiers basketball game against Michigan State. The duo did not leave Bloomington empty-handed, as Watts announced via his twitter account that he and Jones were recipients of scholarship offers from the Hoosiers.
Jones saw action on both sides of the ball for Phillips during their bid for a state championship. The Wildcats near historic run to become the first public league team to win the state championship was chronicled by Sports Illustrated in their Underdogs: Inspiring Stories in High School Football series. Unfortunately, they came up just short, losing in the 4A title game against Rochester, 49-28.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Jones is a physical, hard-hitting linebacker who bulldozes his way through blocks to get to the ball carrier. He also showed off good pass catching skills on his Hudl highlight tape, making grabs down the seam and on screen plays. When asked by Hoosier Huddle what he thought of his newest offer he replied via direct message on Twitter, " A(n) IU offers means a lot to me because it's a BIG10 school, only great people attend IU and play a sports to me, (so) you have to be a special guy."
His glowing endorsement of Indiana did not stop there, as he went on to say, "I like everything about IU. Just the feeling being there puts a smile on my face and think about what great things I can do with this team. Coach Pat(ton) and Coach William Inge they both can talk about what you can do to (make) this team better as a whole...just letting the other team (know) that ,we are coming and not scared to hit"
Watts is entering his first year with the Wildcats, as he had played his junior season at De La Salle before transferring to Phillips in early February. The 6-foot-3, 270 pound prospect also played on both sides of the ball, lining up in the three and five-technique on the defensive line and seeing action at running back on offense. His athleticism and versatility are on display in his Hudl highlight tape, where he shows a good burst out of his stance and a variety of pass rush moves to get pressure on the quarterback. .
When asked for his thoughts on the offer from the Hoosiers, Watts replied via Twitter direct message, " Well it means a lot and to be honest it's one of the best things that's happened this year." He also left Bloomington thinking highly of his potential position coach, "I felt real good about the Dline coach (Larry McDaniel)."
Jones is the No.47 outside linebacker in the 2016 class and the 31st best player in Illinois according to 247sports. In addition to Indiana, the two-star prospect currently holds offers from Illinois, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Miami (OH) and Toledo.
Watts is the 47th best defensive tackle in his class and is No. 24 overall in the state of Illinois. In addition to the Hoosiers, the three-star prospect holds offers from Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Illinois, Miami (OH), New Mexico, Syracuse, Toledo, and Western Michigan, No. 47 at defensive tackle and the no. 24 player in Illinois.