Jones goes from Ashland gridiron to SSU diamond

MILLERSBURG — Recruiting multi-sport athletes who have high upside is important.

West Holmes’ Shane Jones certainly has the ability to make an impact.

After all, Jones was an all-state wide receiver while playing two sports for the Knights in high school.

After trying his hand on the gridiron at Ashland University, Jones will make the move to Shawnee State for the upcoming fall semester — when the outfielder suits up for the Bears beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

“It means a lot,” Jones said. “To me, there is no better sport than baseball. To be able to have the opportunity to continue playing while striving to push my game to the next level is a great privilege.”

At West Holmes, Jones proved to etch his name among the all-time greats to ever play for the Knights.

On the football field, the senior wide receiver helped West Holmes improve from a program that had gone 6-24 in the three seasons prior to a unit that went 8-3 during Jones’ senior season.

The Knights lost in the first round of the OHSAA Division III state playoffs, but took the Division III state champion, Kenton, down to a 48-34 barnburner — the closest contest that the Bombers faced throughout their state championship push.

In Jones’ senior campaign during the fall 2018 season, the wideout finished with 1,139 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns on 64 grabs — all school records for the Knights.

With nearly 30-percent of his total receptions going for scores, along with West Holmes’ total improvement as a unit, Jones was an easy choice as the Division III East District Player of the Year, and as a result, a first-team Division III all-Ohio selection.

“There was nothing like it,” Jones said. “We went from a program that had a total of six wins in the last three years combined, to a team that made a Division III playoff appearance and finished with a final record of 8-3. Putting in the work, coming together as a team, going through the long process, day-in and day-out, and having it turn out the way that it did is an amazing experience.”

Along with his football successes, Jones also stood out on the basketball court, notching games such as a 10-point, 15-rebound effort against Wooster and a 24-point, 12-rebound performance over Navarre Fairless.

As exceptional as that success was, Jones’ baseball campaign proved to be even better.

With a strong frame already present in center field, Jones not only provided a strong defensive presence, but stood out from the outset from an offensive standpoint — notching a ridiculous .511 batting average while stealing 26 bases in just 26 games to lead the team in both categories.

Additionally, Jones set a school record with 44 runs scored, and drove in 22 RBI for the Knights — as West Holmes posted its best-ever record at 23-3 and advanced to the Division II East District semifinals.

He was named as a Division II second-team all-Ohio honoree for his efforts.

“It was great,” Jones said. “I felt that there was an exceptional culture among the baseball program there. The coaches really cared and put the time in to put our team in the best position to be successful while the players bought in and were dedicated. Overall, it was just a great atmosphere.”

With his athleticism and know-how on display in both sports, Jones is certainly a valuable addition to an outfield that brings everybody back from the 2020 roster.

George Duran and Levi Jones, who are all-MSC capable talents, are both back — as is Cameron Reaman, who had a strong start to the 2020 season before the cancellation of the remaining contests on the schedule due to COVID-19.

Collier Wireman and Noah Rezner are also back and made starts in the outfield last spring, while Chuckie Douglas joins Jones as newcomers who could aid the outfield significantly in multiple ways.

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