CHARACTER COUNTS

Arizona College Prep senior leads on field, brings leaders together off it

Oct 28, 2019, 4:46 PM | Updated: 7:52 pm

(Steve Chadwich/@SteveChadwichPhotography)...

(Steve Chadwich/@SteveChadwichPhotography)

(Steve Chadwich/@SteveChadwichPhotography)

Seventeen years old is too young to know what career field you want to spend the rest of your life in, right?

Arizona College Prep senior Ahlias Jones doesn’t think so.

Jones plays varsity basketball, track and field and football for the ACP Knights. As a cornerback, he’s tallied 29 tackles, five passes defensed and one interception this season en route to a 7-2 record with one game remaining until the playoffs. The three-sport athlete even joked that he might get his first sack of the season this week.

“No sacks yet, but this week I think I can get one, though. We added a little corner blitz,” Jones said.

But while the senior enjoys his final season with each respective team this year, Jones already has his eyes looking ahead for what the future has in store.

The 17-year-old wants to follow in the footsteps of his father, Alonzo Jones (Arizona State University Associate Athletic Director), and become an athletic director at the collegiate level.

“I’ve always loved sports, it’s always been a part of who I am,” Ahlias Jones said.

“But I was never sure if I could play at the pro or even college level. So (my dad) is the one that showed me that there’s more to athletics than just playing. There are the guys that maintain the field, guys that manage all the equipment. It’s an entirely different world and environment and I loved it. Since that night, that’s where I want to be.”

And for a career that requires so much organization, Jones is already getting some reps in at the high school level.

The senior, who is the student body president, is part of Key Club and is the vice president of the Black Student Union after previously serving as treasurer. He also volunteers every Thursday night at Clothes Cabin, where clothing donations are taken, cleaned and then made available for those less fortunate and in need.

“I’m biracial myself, so I’ve always had trouble figuring out where I fit best,” Jones said. “(Black Student Union) brought me a community of fellow black students who all accepted me. They didn’t question me, they invited me in. And that was just so amazing that I wanted to do more. It really helped me just establish who I am as a person.”

“It has brought me a love of volunteering. I took that and found more ways to volunteer. That’s just so rewarding in itself and why I love ACP so much. We’re a young school, so I have the ability to actually establish things, so that’s amazing.”

But that’s not the only administrative-level experience Jones has.

He was also a recipient of the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) 2019 Student Leadership Award for his involvement with the AIA’s Student Leadership Advisory Committee, where he organized meetings that he would lead and speak at.

Jones became involved with the committee after taking an apprenticeship with his current high school athletic director, Heather Osborn. As a result, the 17-year-old helped found SOL (Student Organization of Leaders) — which is specifically for the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) — after proposing the idea to CUSD athletic director, Marcus Williams.

SOL’s mission is to bring student leaders from every school in the district together in order to get more people involved with helping others that are in need and less fortunate.

“I thank my parents, I thank the environment I’ve been put in,” Jones said. “I’ve seen what all of my (older siblings) have done to succeed and what they’ve done that they think they could have improved on. They always told me to take every single chance you get, but never let your grades fall.”

His siblings couldn’t be more proud. Not only is he making the most of his opportunities, he’s also posting a 4.2 GPA.

The cornerback isn’t sure if he wants to play football in college or not just yet. He currently has two offers from Division III schools Arizona Christian and Willamette University, but expects more to come after sending out his senior year highlight tape.

Jones’ goal is to become a grad assistant and get a master’s degree in higher education or sports administration at Louisianna State University.

“I love helping people and I think sports administration is the best way to combine two things that I love,” Jones said. “I just want to be happy, so even if I’m a little stressed, as long as I’m taking the right path to the one position then I think I’ll be very happy.”

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Arizona College Prep senior leads on field, brings leaders together off it