January 6, 2011

Longhorns' hire rocks Mississippi defensive tackle

P.J. Jones named a top two on Wednesday night.

Then the three-star defensive tackle from Tupelo, Miss., heard news that literally rendered him speechless and, in his words, "changed up the game a little bit."

Manny Diaz left Mississippi State to become the new defensive coordinator at Texas on Wednesday, and Diaz's departure stunned the 6-foot-2, 252-pound Jones.

"Really?" Jones said when asked what impact Diaz's decision might have on his decision. "Dang. I didn't know that. He left? I guess that changes my mind a little bit. He was the mastermind of that defense.

"He was kind of a big factor. I don't know if they can do without him. Who knows? …I don't know what to say now."

Jones, ranked as the No. 13 player in Mississippi by Rivals.com, said he plans to visit Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas and possibly Southern Mississippi between now and Feb. 2. Before hearing the news of Diaz's exodus to Austin, Jones said Arkansas and Mississippi State were his top with Ole Miss "in there, too."

The Rebels, Jones said, "want me to get up there and see what they're all about."

Jones said he's not paying a lot of attention to the decisions some of the other top players in Mississippi are making as National Signing Day nears.

"I really can't worry about people too much," Jones said. "It would be nice to play with the guys I played with in the all-star game (in Mobile, Ala., last month), but people have to make their own decisions."

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