Film Study: Notre Dame WR commit Micah Jones
WR Micah Jones, 6-5. 195; Gurnee (Ill.) Warren Township.
The numbers: Jones tallied 22 receptions for 232 yards and two touchdowns as a junior. Warren Township (4-5) failed to qualify for the IHSA playoffs.
The rankings: Rivals – Four stars, No. 29 wide receiver. 247Sports – Four stars, No. 47 wide receiver.
First impression: Jones is a big-bodied receiver with a wide catch radius. His size and soft hands should allow him to develop into a possession receiver and a red-zone target. He fits a need with Notre Dame’s recent streak of smaller receivers.
Strengths: Throw the ball up, and let Jones fight for it. He’s the perfect fit for the “can’t teach size” cliché. The quarterbacks throwing to Jones don’t appear to be very accurate, but he still hauls in a lot of passes high and low. Jones doesn’t seem to hesitate when he’s crossing the middle of the field or making a catch in traffic. Jones also doesn’t mind using his long frame to control defenders as a blocker.
Proof of prowess: (:10) Jones doesn’t do much to get open, but a ball placed high and outside allows Jones to turn for a back shoulder fade and get a foot down for the score … (:42) Jones doesn’t get many opportunities for yards after the catch, but he takes advantage of a screen designed for him. He patiently works through all the traffic at the line of scrimmage to work open for his quarterback. When he catches the ball, he immediately turns up field to get a first down … (2:12) Jones makes a nice leaping catch as he crosses the middle of the field. He manages to keep his balance and keep running. If not for the defender on his back, he could have turned the play into a big gain.
Competition level: The perception of high-end talent in Illinois has been on the decline in recent years. In the 2017 class, Rivals rated only six players at or above a four-star rating. That number has been lower than six only once (five in 2015) in the previous 10 recruiting classes. The 2018 class only has three four-star recruits at this point with Jones ranked as the No. 1 player in the state. It’s easy to see that Jones isn’t playing against many players of his caliber in the Chicago suburbs. Last season, Warren Township played only two of the top 26 teams in the state, according to MaxPreps rankings.
Left to prove: Hopefully Jones has more consistent quarterback play as a senior to get a better grasp on his full skill set. Even the things he does well are so infrequently shown on film. But Jones definitely looks the part on film and in person. My biggest question will be how Jones is able to create separation with his route running and speed. Is he fast enough to run away from defensive backs down the field? Improved footwork and speed could help Jones reach his potential.