ST. CHARLES -- The Lindenwood University football program picked up another local athlete on Thursday, as East Prairie's Tony Jones signed on to play for the Lions next season.
"When I first got this job, I went to East Prairie high school," said Shawn Jackson, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Lindenwood University. "Tony Jones was the first guy I wanted. SIU and SEMO both wanted him."
"Jones had over 130 tackles from the defensive end spot last season," he added. "This is a great deal for us. We're getting a great student as well--an honor student."
Jackson said that Jason Aycock and the staff at East Prairie really took care of Jones while he was under their watch.
"He'll come in right now, and play what we call an inverted safety," Jones said. "He'll play down close to the line of scrimmage and come off the edge to rush the passer. We'll drop him back in coverage as well."
"We hope he can come in and add immediate depth," he added. "That's a big bonus for us with that kind of athlete."
Jones actually finished the season with 132 tackles, seven of which were quarterback sacks for the Eagles.
Jones' former coach Jason Aycock spoke highly of his former player's recent signing.
"Tony wants to make an immediate impact on people's lives, period," said Aycock. "He's a big time Christian guy, and I think that's his number one goal in life."
"On the field, I feel like he'll be an impact player for Lindenwood," he added. "I think they'll look at him on the defensive side of the ball, as a linebacker. He's a good enough player to make big plays for them."
Aycock added that the pressure is enormous for 18-year-olds to make decisions on where to attend school, and that Jones made a good decision of going with Lindenwood.
"Tony handled it with class and character," said Aycock. "It shows what kind of athlete Lindenwood is getting. He's a wonderful kid, and a good fit for Lindenwood."
Oran High School's Jodi Urhahn also signed a letter of intent with Lindenwood to play softball for the Lady Lions. A shortstop for the Lady Eagles in the fall, Urhahn will fill a utility position for Lindenwood.
Urhahn finished her senior year with a .455 batting average and nine RBIs, while stealing 12 bases. She had a .492 on base percentage and four doubles, while helping Oran to the Class 1, District 1 title.