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January 4, 2013San Diego State is quickly establishing itself as a top landing spot for Pac-12 transfers.
First it was Oregon State's Ryan Katz, then it was USC's Brice Butler, followed by troubled Trojans running back Dillon Baxter (who never ended up seeing the field at SDSU).
Add one more name to the list: Former UCLA running back Malcolm Jones.
Jones, who played in the Bruins' season opener against Rice before deciding to transfer, told AztecSportsReport.com that he will be joining the Aztecs in June.
"They're a run-heavy offense and they run the ball like 30-35 times a game," Jones said of what made him choose SDSU. "I feel like it's a good fit for a physical-style running back like I am to play there ... Like any other transfer I'm going to have to work my way up. I'll probably start at the bottom and prove to the coaches that I'm worthy of getting playing time."
The big, bruising 6-foot, 220-pound junior took a visit to Montezuma Mesa at the end of September to check out the campus.
"At first they weren't really interested in me, and I gave them a call and went down to the school and checked it out," Jones said. "There weren't too many other schools I was looking at because it was during the season; I was low-profile about everything. I wasn't really looking at too many big-name schools and SDSU really popped out to me and seemed like a good school I should go to."
Since he only played in the season opener (where he had three carries for 10 yards) and hasn't used up his redshirt season yet, Jones says he has received permission from the NCAA to play right away when he joins SDSU instead of having to sit out another season, and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
"Actually I'll be eligible to play next year because I sat out this whole entire football season too," he says.
The former Gatorade National High School Player of the Year was a highly-touted, four-star Rivals100 prospect coming out of Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian with offers from UCLA, USC, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oklahoma and Stanford. But his immense potential was never quite realized in Westwood. Jones finished with 313 rushing yards and one touchdown in only 83 carries as a Bruin, and was buried on the depth chart this past season.
"With the new coaching staff they got and the whole entire new offense, it just wasn't the right system for me," Jones said. "The type of spread offense they run isn't really meant for a big, strong power back and it didn't feel like a good fit for me."
Jones will take classes at a junior college next semester before joining SDSU in the summer. He'll be competing for playing time in a crowded backfield led by sophomore Adam Muema (1,458 yards, 16 touchdowns; second team All-Mountain West). Redshirt freshmen Chase Price, Dwayne Garrett and De'Saan Hardwick also return, and the Aztecs have verbal commitments from 2013 three-star running back prospects Donnel Pumphrey and Marcus Stamps as well.
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