Reviewing the Redshirts is an off-season series meant to resurrect discussion around the current Irish freshmen who did not play in 2012.
There were nine this year who retained a year of eligibility and today we take a look at a young defensive end who might play a key role in 2013.
Defensive End, Jarron Jones
Hometown: Rochester, New York
247: 4-star, No. 10 OT, No. 2 New York, No. 107 nationally, 95 grade
ESPN: 4-star, No. 11 OT, No. 2 New York, No. 102 nationally, 80 grade
Scout: 4-star, No. 28 OT
Rivals: 4-star, No. 14 DT, No. 2 New York, No. 199 nationally
Composite: 4-star, No. 15 OT, No. 1 New York, No. 148 nationally
Need at Position: High
Expected Spot on the Depth Chart: Back up, playing a lot of minutes
Jones graduated from the Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York and was a stand-out star in both basketball and football for the Lil' Irish. Over his final two seasons Jones racked up 139 tackles, 15 sacks, 13 pass break-ups, while also setting the school record for rebounds in a basketball game with 33.
He moved so well at the high school level that many believed Jones would be an offensive tackle in college but the Irish coaching staff was adamant since signing him that he belongs on the defensive line.
His height last August was a little disappointing---he was listed as tall as 6'7" by some services---but Jones' weight looks great right now. A true freshman (with a pretty muscular frame) that is pushing 300 pounds is a perfect fit at defensive end in Diaco's system.
With the loss of Kapron Lewis-Moore a starting spot is opening up at defensive end in 2013. I'd expect Sheldon Day to get a lot of time in Kap's absence, but Jones has the talent and physicality to be used heavily in the rotation as well.
It will be interesting to see just how effective Jones will be as a redshirt freshman. He was singled out by Brian Kelly as someone who stood out in the practices leading up to the BCS National Championship and that's always good news. Heading in to next season it's difficult not to get excited for this kid's potential. Even though he's listed at just 6'5" he has an enormous wingspan and he could wreak havoc if he's able to stand up to the physical nature up front on the line.
I think Jones will be battling Schwenke and Springmann for a lot of minutes.