“I wanted to go to Tech really bad," Richard Jones detailed. "But, you know with the storm (forecasting Category 4/5), we had to evacuate."
"Then my father (Henry Batise) said," Jones continued, "‘Hey, we have to evacuate anyway. So let’s load up and go to Lubbock.’"
Jones’ mother (Miranda Batise), his 10-year-old sister (Henryona Batise) and his 13- and 14-year-old brothers (Darrian and Henry Batise III) accompanied the Texas Hot 100 selection and his father to the Hub City.
Prior to the evacuation to Lubbock, Jones was taking a hard look at both Texas Tech and Missouri. As a matter of fact, he had given the Tigers an early commitment, but then later decided to open himself back up due to strong interest in the Red Raiders. Maintaining that an official visit to Columbia, Mo. would follow his Lubbock trip, not to mention the possibility of additional officials, he decided “on Sunday” to fully end the suspense.
“My recruitment is finished,” said Jones, who ran a 4.5 20 yard shuttle at the Scout.com Texas Waco combine. “Tech is the place for me. I’m done.”
There was also a family connection, in Lubbock, working in Tech’s favor. Jones said his family stayed with his “auntie” on his “daddy’s side.” Other pertinent factors were his “love of the campus”, his “relationship with Coach Ruffin McNeil”, and early playing time (“I talked to Coach Mike Leach and Coach McNeil and they told me I’m not redshirting, I’m going to play early.”)
That said, "going through the tunnel" to the cheers of a bunch of savvy "Red Raider fans" may very well have been the ultimate clincher.
“I felt like there was a Richard Jones fan club out there," the 3-star DT gushed. "The Texas Tech fans just showed me a lot of love. They had a lot of people out there holding up signs with my name on it and it was just really cool.”
The Lubbock experience no doubt brought the surety he was searching for in a not-so-distant college future. But if you dig even deeper than that, it will be remembered by Jones and his family for the security it provided October 23-25, 2005...