Highly regarded

CLEMSON - Two-time All-American linebacker Keith Adams thinks an awful lot of Kellen Jones.

Adams, now a student assistant on the Clemson staff, played in the NFL for seven seasons after a decorated three-year stop in Tigertown.

"Kellen Jones, the next Keith Adams," Adams hollered on Friday, while Jones was speaking with reporters.

At Clemson, Adams was also a two-time All-ACC performer, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for both the Butkus and Bednarik awards. Adams had 379 tackles during his career and set the school's single-game record for tackles with 27 versus South Carolina in 1999.

After sitting out last season because of NCAA transfer rules, Jones is now competing for the vacant WILL linebacker job.

Before his move to the outside, Jones played in the middle at MIKE.

"I haven't played [WILL] before. It's a big turn. I have to be more open-minded. Because, sometimes, I get very frustrated, get totally messed up and screw up, mentally," he said. "I just have to stay focused."

Apparently, it hasn't affected his desire to punish blockers and ball carriers.

"He plays like somebody just stole his last $100 bill," Dabo Swinney said. "That's how he plays. That's a good thing at that position."

Jones appreciated the compliment from his head coach.

"It's just a joy to my ears, as far as hearing that from coach Swinney, the head man," Jones said. "I just feel as though I'm trying improve everyday and just get better at my position."

He added, "You've got to have a little violence to play linebacker. When you play defense, you've got to have a little bit of an edge on you. You've got to bring your all. It's natural for me."

Though Brent Venables wasn't as complimentary as Swinney was, he still offered a few good words about Jones.

"He's still a work in progress," Venables said. "He's got a good attitude, has some ability, as far as his instincts, his ability to find the ball."

Those instincts are in Jones' DNA. His father, Sean, played linebacker at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

"I guess it's just instilled in me," Jones said.

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