Film study: Notre Dame LB signee Jonathan Jones
LB Jonathan Jones, 6-1, 209; Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge.
The numbers: Jones said he tallied more than 100 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions and three defensive touchdowns in his senior season at Oak Ridge. The Pioneers (9-3) finished the season with a loss in the first round of the FHSAA Class 8A playoffs.
The rankings: 247Sports – Four stars, No. 18 outside linebacker. Rivals – Three stars, No. 19 inside linebacker.
First impression: Jones is physical player who has developed into a more complete linebacker. His instincts put him in a position to make plays. His physical skills will be tested at Notre Dame.
Strengths: There’s nothing flashy about Jonathan Jones’ game. He’s an instinctual football player who gets his job done. He plays with a mean streak, but he’s not overpowering. He bounces around in traffic to find the ball and make the tackle. As a shorter linebacker, Jones naturally plays with a lower pad level. He keeps his feet underneath him and his shoulders square to stay balanced with linemen coming at him. Jones is at his best when he’s moving forward.
He did what? (:41) Jones reads the receiver and then the quarterback as he drops into coverage. He cuts perfectly in front of the pass and makes a nice catch on the run. He finishes the play in the end zone … (1:40) Jones tracks down a screen pass only to realize it’s a double pass. He retreats, but the receiver is left wide open. Still Jones tracks down the receiver to tackle him just short of the goal line to prevent a touchdown on a great hustle play … (2:19) Jones takes on a pulling lineman trying to lead the running back and knocks him to the ground. Jones then transitions to quickly make the tackle to prevent a long run.
Competition level: The Orlando area regularly produces college players. Jones shared the field with plenty during his high school career. In his senior season, Oak Ridge played against mostly average teams with the exception of three teams: Dr. Phillips, Apopka and Manatee. All three schools were ranked in Florida’s top 55, according to MaxPreps. The same area has sent running back Dexter Williams and cornerback Lo Wood to Notre Dame in recent years.
Left to prove: Jones needs to get quicker and stronger to compete at Notre Dame. His knowledge of the game carried him in high school, but he’ll need to develop in those aspects to keep up with the college game. As he progresses, Jones should become a more fluid and natural defender. Very little looks easy for him. Even as he made improvement in his coverage skills, Jones has room to grow in making plays on the ball. Jones has hurdles to overcome, but his determination will help him along the way.