CLINTON TWP. — The combination of big-city living coupled with a favorable academic situation sealed the deal.
Lackawanna Trail senior lineman Shawn Jones, who plans to study Middle Level Education, recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Duquesne University.
“I really love the city of Pittsburgh as a whole,” Jones said. “I know the education program is great and the class sizes are very nice, too.
Jones also felt comfortable talking with the Dukes’ coaching staff throughout the recruiting process.
“All of the coaches are great guys,” he said. “They are very well respected by their players. I’m very excited to get out there and start playing.
“All of it just fit nicely.”
According to Lackawanna Trail head football coach Steve Jervis, Jones’ departure will leave a huge void for the Lions.
“Shawn has always been known for being very athletic for his size,” Jervis said. “Most kids who are 6-foot-2, 290-pounds don’t possess his athleticism. Overall, I think he has a very high football IQ. He really understood what we wanted to do on both sides of the ball very well. Above all, he’s just a great kid. He has a great personality and was a lot of fun to coach. We’re definitely going to miss No. 72 next season.”
Jones credited the Lackawanna Trail coaching staff for molding him into a Division 1 prospect.
The Dukes, a member of the Northeast Football Conference, compete in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
“I wouldn’t be the player I am without them,” Jones said. “The whole coaching staff pushes us every day. I can’t thank them enough because everything that I have in my future is based on them. They taught me everything I know about the game.”
Although Jones played a pivotal role in Lackawanna Trail’s success over the past four seasons and was named to the Pennsylvania Football Writers’ Class A All-State Team as a senior, Jervis believes he still has untapped potential.
“I think Shawn’s best football is still ahead of him,” Jervis said. “He’s young for his grade and I think he will continue to get better.”
Jervis also feels that Jones’ actions off the field were equally as important as his contributions on the gridiron.
“He was very welcoming to the underclassmen and I think that says a lot about his character,” Jervis said. “He always went out of his way to help the younger kids and bring them up to a higher level.
“He’s very well respected not just on our football team, but in the school community, as well.”
Jones, the senior class president, also participates in baseball, basketball, and track and field at Lackawanna Trail.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.