The 2017 defense was better than the 2016 edition. But, that’s not saying much. Matt Luke, defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff, and linebackers coach Bradley Dale Peveto knew that they needed to go out and get some impact linebackers at the high school level.
Now, Peveto is cranking things back up after securing signatures from a few backers in the early signing period. And three-star Jacquez Jones has made things official now tha the has sent in his letter of intent with his John Hancock on it.
almost certainly some negative recruiting from everyone’s favorite hunchback a late surge from Mississippi State during the final hour, things appeared shaky according to 247Sports Crystal Ball predictor, but ultimately the Rebs won out over the Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers.
Jones, an outside linebacker from Tuscaloosa, Ala., verbally committed to Ole Miss back in September despite most pundits thinking he was a heavy Tennessee lean in the early going and LSU and State both making late runs. The Hillcrest High School product was a key cog for the Patriots in 2016, leading them to an 11-1 record and berth in the 6A playoffs.
The No. 43 outside linebacker in the country joins fellow Alabama signees Jonathan Hess, Jalen Cunningham, K.D. Hill, and commit JaKorey Hawkins. Everyone is aware of the position and it’s dire need for depth and Mr. Jones is no doubt an excellent addition to a room in need.
He was never extended a commitable offer from Alabama, but he was being personally recruited by Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt before he accepted the head coach position at Tennessee.
If that doesn’t give you a hint of the caliber of recruit he is, maybe his offer sheet will. He held offers from notable programs like Georgia Tech, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State, Tennessee and West Virginia.
How does he fit in?
The 6’1, 225-pounder from the Yellowhammer State has a great frame and already has the look of a SEC ‘backer. He diagnoses plays well and finds the football quickly as evidenced by his 120 tackles, three forced fumbles and one interception as a junior. Then, he followed that up with an encore of a senior season: 163 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, and three forced fumbles.
He is definitely someone who arrives at the ball carrier with a bad attitude and finishes tackles with violent emphasis. In pass coverage, he flashes some athleticism and the ability to stick with smaller, quicker running backs and slot receivers.
Jones is going to be an outstanding addition to Wesley McGriff’s defense and will give him and Peveto plenty of flexibility in terms of keeping him on the inside or outside. The aforementioned athleticism paired with an innate ability to make plays though could push him more to the outside to cover the flats and run sideline-to-sideline when going up against the spread offenses in the Southeastern Conference.
J.J. has the athleticism and play making abilities of a safety while playing at the second level. He is a dynamic linebacker prospect with lots of upside. Depending on how others pan out at the third level, he might stay in B.D.P.’s room. Either way, make no mistake about it, wherever he ends up on the Landshark defense, he will be a name to remember.