Notre Dame received its 9th commitment in the 2016 recruiting class today when outside linebacker Jamir Jones pledged to the Irish. Jones camped at Notre Dame today and measured 6'3" and 231 pounds; the 247 Composite has him as the #905 overall player, #64 outside linebacker, and #3 player in New York. Jones is the younger brother of current Notre Dame defensive tackle Jarron Jones, making him the second sibling commit in this class after Romeo Okwara's brother Julian. Jarron, ever the comedian, of course had his own #HotTake:
Safe to say I will be transferring if I stay a 5th year.. I'm jk! Congrats to my lil bro @Jones__24 ! Follow him!— Jarron Jones™ (@Who_GotJones94) June 23, 2015
Last year, Jamir's team needed him to play out of position at quarterback, which both limited his development defensively and forced him to keep his weight down. He won't have that problem this year - he'll be able to focus full time on defense, and it'll be interesting to see how that helps his development. Is he rated lowly because he's that raw a prospect, or because he was playing out of position in upstate New York?
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 3 star (5.6 rating), NR overall, #41 position, #2 in New York
247 - 3 star (84 rating), #1084 overall, #74 position, #3 in New York
ESPN - 3 star (72 rating), NR overall, #57 position, #2 in New York
Scout - 3 star, NR overall, #58 position, #3 in New York
247 Composite - 3 star (0.8463 rating), #905 overall, #64 position, #3 in New York
Despite the three star rating, there's a lot to like about Jones's highlight tape. He's listed as an outside linebacker, but nearly everything on the tape is either playing quarterback or rushing the quarterback. He shows very good closing speed behind the line and wraps up very well; you don't see any lead-with-the-shoulder knockout shot attempts, just sound stopping technique. He fights through traffic at the point of attack pretty well and is single-minded on the ball carrier. On either side of the ball, he likes contact - love to see that tough mentality.
He shows the typical areas for improvement that most young players do. He definitely plays a little high at times and relies on superior athletic ability to get into the backfield, which of course won't work at the next level. I think he also needs to learn how to use his hands to maintain distance from offensive linemen; there were a couple of plays where it looked like he got into the lineman's body pretty quickly, which is a recipe for being taken out of the play in college.
Oh, and he's surprisingly decent at quarterback, which if nothing else is a positive note about his athleticism.
The Irish have built up some solid depth at both outside linebacker and defensive end, so it's highly unlikely that Jones will have to contribute in an on-field capacity in 2016. That's probably for the best, as it will allow him to hone his technique with Mike Elston and Keith Gilmore, and to adjust to the jump in competition level that is an obstacle to many New York prospects.
Long Term / Career
I could see Jones becoming a rotation guy at outside linebacker or defensive end in 2017. I don't think he's done filling out his frame, so ultimately I think he'll be a defensive end and he'll really start to contribute in 2018. I could see him becoming a lead rotation guy in 2018 and a part-time starter in 19.
Welcome to the family, Jamir!