Film study: Notre Dame LB commit Jamir Jones

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

LB Jamir Jones, 6-3, 220; Rochester (N.Y.) Aquinas Institute.

The numbers: Jones had a productive senior season as a two-way player for Aquinas. He tallied 98 tackles, 23 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and one interception on defense. He added 43 receptions for 822 yards and nine touchdowns on offense. The Little Irish (13-0) finished the season with a NYSPHSAA Class AA state championship.

The rankings: Rivals — Three stars, No. 43 outside linebacker. 247Sports — Three stars, No. 82 outside linebacker.

FILM BREAKDOWN

First impression: Jamir Jones gets the job done. He doesn’t jump off the screen with his speed or physicality, but he always seems to be in the right place. Like his older brother, Jones will likely need time to develop at Notre Dame.

Strengths: Jones runs downhill well and likes to mix it up in the backfield. He has a tendency to disrupt offenses. His size could allow him to play linebacker or defensive line in college. As a pass rusher, Jones’ greatest strength is his ability to deflect passes. He’s shown a good sense of getting in the passing lane if he can’t get to the quarterback. On offense, Jones shows his good hands and good straight line speed for his size.

He did what? (:31) Jones running the ball in the open field spells disaster for a defensive back. Jones has a full head of steam rolling after catching a swing pass and runs over the hapless defender. He turns on the jets and finishes the play for a 68-yard touchdown … (5:13) Jones diagnoses a run and dives into the backfield by cutting inside an offensive lineman trying to block him. He runs through the attempted block and wraps up the running back for a sizable loss … (9:45) Jones did little right in terms of making a form tackle, but he still gets the job done with pure strength. He gets low to take on the quarterback at the goal line and stops him in his tracks despite Jones being tackled by his teammate and not using his arms to wrap up the ball carrier. The power of the collision alone essentially stuffs the play.

Competition level: Aquinas didn’t skimp on playing some of the best teams New York had to offer. The Little Irish beat eight of the Top 25 teams in the state according to MaxPreps. But the Empire State is notorious for not producing many elite college football recruits. Last year, a MaxPreps story listed New York as the worst state at producing top 100 recruits per million residents in the last five years. The best player in the state for the 2016 class, per Rivals and 247Sports, was Jones’ teammate, quarterback Jake Zembiec, who enrolled at Penn State this month.

Left to prove: The lingering question in Jones’ recruitment has always been whether he’s better suited as a linebacker or defensive lineman at the college level. He’s certainly shown some ball skills in high school and added to that résumé with an interception in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. But in other areas, Jones seems destined to transition to defensive end. He lacks some explosiveness and lateral quickness that you’d like to see out of a college linebacker. If he can’t add some of that in his first year or two with the Irish, expect him to end up on the defensive line. His frame should allow for that transition.

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame LB commit Jamir Jones intercepted a pass in Sunday night's Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)