Wade Payne / Associated Press
While redshirting at the University of Tennessee this past fall, Sheriron Jones couldn’t shake the thoughts of being closer to his home in California.
Every time Jones thought about transferring away from Tennessee, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre would enter his mind.
“He made a great impression on me and I’ll never forget it,” Jones said. “I thought of him and I was like, ‘I really want to be in that program.’ “
Nearly two years after visiting the CU campus, Jones is set to make Boulder his new home. On Thursday, he received his release from Tennessee and began the process of transferring to CU.
A four-star recruit in 2015, Jones is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound dual-threat quarterback that could give Colorado a major boost on offense. He has to sit out the 2016 season due to the NCAA transfer rule, but will have three years of eligibility remaining.
“I really wanted to come closer to home,” Jones said in explaining why he left Tennessee. “It was kind of hard for my parents to get to Tennessee to see me play. I thought I’d be able to handle it being away from my parents, but I really wanted my parents to be able to see me play.”
Officially, Jones is not a Buff just yet. On Thursday night, he and his parents were in the process of filling out his application and financial aid paperwork, and he still needs to get accepted into school.
“I believe I’m pretty good with my grades,” he said. “I finished my semester at Tennessee with a 3.0. Everything should be fine.”
With school starting Monday, Jones said he’s hoping to get to Boulder in time for a team meeting Sunday night and to start classes right away. He’s expected to be able to take part in spring practices, which start in February.
As a star at Rancho Verde (Calif.) High School, Jones took an unofficial visit to CU in February 2014 and came away very impressed with that visit.
Despite that, Jones originally committed to Florida, but changed his mind after the Gators fired Will Muschamp and hired Jim McElwain in December of 2014. He signed with Tennessee last February and played on the scout team this past season.
Shortly after Tennessee’s 45-6 win against Northwestern in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, he informed Volunteers’ head coach Butch Jones that he wanted to leave.
Pete Duffy, who coached Jones in high school, said CU’s recent hire of Darrin Chiaverini as co-offensive coordinator was a bonus. Duffy has had a long relationship with Chiaverini, and the fact that Chiaverini is expected to bring some passing concepts with him from Texas Tech didn’t hurt.
“He’s always recruited my guys wherever he’s at,” Duffy said of Chiaverini. “He’s really good and he’s going to be a great addition to that program.”
Duffy believes Jones will be a great addition, too.
Duffy said Jones is “smart and has high character” and also had high praise for Jones’ arm. Jones was rated as one of the country’s top dual-threat quarterback prospects in 2015, but Duffy said its Jones’ arm that really stands out.
“He can really spin it,” Duffy said. “He’s a thrower that can run; he’s not a runner that can throw. He’s also got huge hands, so he can play in the rain and the snow and it’s not going to affect him.”
Adding Jones is going to make CU’s quarterback room a little more crowded.
CU currently has five quarterbacks on the roster, all of which are expected to return this season: seniors Sefo Liufau (a three-year starter) and Jordan Gehrke, junior walk-on T.J. Patterson, sophomore Cade Apsay and redshirt freshman Steven Montez.
“Basically I’m just hoping I have an opportunity to compete for a job,” Jones said. “I have to sit out a year and compete for the job next year. I just hope I can get an opportunity to play down there.”
The Buffs are also expected to add Sam Noyer, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound three-star recruit from Beaverton, Ore., on national signing day on Feb. 3.
Noyer told BuffZone.com on Thursday night that Jones’ addition does not change his commitment to CU.
“I’m a competitor and I’m going to go in there and compete no matter who is in there,” Noyer said. “Honestly, it doesn’t affect me. I knew from the day I signed I was going to go in there and have to compete.”
Regardless of who is on the roster, though, Duffy expects Jones to very much be in the hunt for the starting job in 2017.
“If I were the guys that are there, I would probably be a little nervous,” Duffy said. “He’s a legitimate Elite 11 guy that’s got all of the tools.
“He’s going to be very good. He’s the real deal.”