CINCINNATI - A few moments after Mount Healthy football player David Montgomery announced his signing with Iowa State Wednesday morning, he was surrounded.
Family, friends, coaches and classmates all wanted an opportunity to send best wishes and grab a photo with the football standout and Eagle Scout on the high school auditorium stage. The media wanted interviews.
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Then, Colerain standout Deshaunte Jones walked up to the stage. For the first time as official Iowa State signees, the two longtime friends had a chance to share the spotlight in front of the cameras.
“We’ve always been cool,” Montgomery said. “We are still going to remain friends and become better friends just because we are going to the same school together. I feel like it’s an opportunity that God has placed before us.”
Jones, the Colerain quarterback and Associated Press Ohio Mr. Football finalist, wore a dress shirt with a gold tie in respect to part of the Cyclones’ color scheme. He sat on the right side of the auditorium for Montgomery’s announcement.
The truth is Montgomery verbally committed prior to Jones at the end of January. But Jones kept it under wraps in respect of his friend’s announcement.
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The two have known each other since first grade at Houston Elementary School. Jones and Montgomery played football for Colerain Middle School in the seventh and eighth grade. Jones was a slot back and Montgomery a running back in those days.
And both had the ability to get into the end zone frequently. One particular game saw Jones take a pass from Montgomery and go 90 yards for a touchdown as time expired in regulation.
Montgomery then completed a nifty reverse and took it to the house for a long touchdown in overtime to lift the team to victory.
“They were phenomenal,” said Tom Farmer, who coached them at Colerain Middle School. “Great athletes, great runners and great kids.”
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Montgomery is projected to play running back with the Big 12 program. He also considered Illinois, Marshall and Purdue among his finalists.
Montgomery was the AP Division III state offensive player of the year as a quarterback this past season. He rushed for 2,707 yards and 41 touchdowns and threw for 726 yards and seven touchdowns.
“It was probably the craziest recruiting process I have ever been involved with,” Mount Healthy coach Arvie Crouch said. “Last year at this time he didn’t have anything. I felt like he was the best running back in the state when you are talking pure running backs.”
It was Jones who committed Tuesday night after being won over by the program, the campus and the academics during his visit to Ames last weekend. He is projected to play wide receiver.
“Once I got on campus I knew this was the place I wanted to stay at because it felt like home,” Jones said. “The energy and the atmosphere was just amazing.”
Iowa State may seem to be an unusual destination for two standouts the caliber of Jones and Montgomery. The school hasn't had a Cincinnati-area player since Woodward High School linebacker Steve Thomas (1982-85), according to the Iowa State athletic department. Dwayne Crutchfield, one of the school’s best running backs, rushed for over 1,000 yards in 1980 and ’81 and later played in the NFL. Crutchfield played for North College Hill in high school.
Jones and Montgomery had plenty of other opportunities.
Jones, who had offers that included UC, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech and several others. He rushed for 1,860 yards and 29 touchdowns and threw for 785 yards and nine touchdowns as a first-team all-state selection.
“This guy,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden said Wednesday, “makes me a great coach.”
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell would certainly like the same result. The former Toledo head coach has strong Ohio connections. His recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Alex Golesh is the lead recruiter for Southwest Ohio. Golesh was aware of both players during his time as an Illinois assistant.
“It’s pretty cool they are both going to Iowa State,” Crouch said. “Iowa State did a hell of a job getting some great players – I will tell you that right now.”