In the end, Walker Jones kept it in the family.
"After much thought and prayer, I have verbally committed to play football at the University of Alabama," the athlete from Cordova (Tenn.) Evangelical Christian old ESPN in a prepared statement via email on Monday. "Coach [Nick] Saban told me he is very pleased with my decision and happy to have me as a part of the 2013 class. He said I have the size, athleticism, and intelligence to be a good player at the next level. He plans for me to play inside linebacker but told me I have the versatility to play outside [linebacker] or even h-back. He also told me I will have an opportunity to contribute on special teams."
"It was such a difficult decision because of the other great opportunities I had, but overall the best fit for me academically and athletically was at Alabama," Jones said. "Alabama is indisputably one of the best programs in the nation right now, mainly due to what a great coaching staff it has. Coach Saban has won three national championships and has a top-notch recruiting class each year. I respect his work ethic and willingness to devote his full effort to turning his players into great men. I have really appreciated the way Coach Groh and Coach [Kirby] Smart have recruited me, showing me that Alabama was the best fit for me while also giving me the time to realize it for myself. I cannot wait to play for Coach Smart as my position coach and play-caller. I have spent a lot of time with him in my 4 years at camp and believe in his ability to make me a part of some great Alabama defenses."
Walker Jones was also considering Arkansas, Ole Miss and Tennessee, among others.
"Alabama also fits my academic goals as I plan to major in business, fulfill my pre-med requirements, and then head to med school for my post-graduate work. Alabama possesses highly respected business and medical schools.
"I am so thankful to the other schools that have recruited me and respect each of the coaches and programs tremendously," Jones said. "I am very grateful to [Mississippi State] Coach Dan Mullen for having confidence in my ability and who was the first to offer me a D1 scholarship ... It was very difficult to tell them my decision. Mississippi State has an exciting program and I know they have a great future ahead. "
Jones also complimented Vanderbilt, namely head coach James Franklin.
"I want to thank my parents for taking me on many different visits that allowed me to realize what I was looking for in a school, Jones stated. "These visits helped me to learn about each program and have confidence in making my decision. I’m very grateful that my family never pressured me in any way and allowed me to make the decision on my own. I am very excited about playing with my brother Harrison and continuing our family tradition at Alabama."
Lastly, Jones thanked his high school coach.
"I also want to thank Coach Geoff Walters, my high school coach, for assisting me in my recruitment and also teaching me what it meant to work hard to achieve your goals," Jones said. "All of my coaches at ECS have helped me develop both my athletic skills as well as my character, which have both been the reasons for my opportunity to play at the college level. I am excited to have one more year with them to achieve great things on and off the field.
"I am thrilled to have this opportunity and I will work as hard as I can to do everything and anything to contribute to the success of Alabama’s program. Roll Tide!"