VV.com Spotlight: MARVIN JONES, DT

Last week Idaho received a verbal commitment from defensive tackle prospect <b>Marvin Jones</b>, a 6-2, 285 pound senior at Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo, California. While we tap our sources looking for photos of this athlete, a wealth of information is available summarizing his high school football and wrestling accomplishments.

Idaho received a solid verbal commitment last week from Marvin Jones, a 6-2, 285 pound defensive tackle prospect out of California's Jesse Bethel High School. Marvin's commitment is key, given Idaho's immediate need to build defensive line depth for 2005. If he's ready to play next fall, the addition of Jones coupled with the emergence of at least 2 redshirts, a JC transfer and some personnel moves gives the line a number of options and a serious rotation of size, strength, and agility, something they lacked in 2004 (despite an admirable effort by Idaho's defensive line last fall).

Idaho's 2004 interior defensive line (nose tackle and defensive tackle), which was thin before the season started, was decimated by injuries early. A week before the season opener, touted recruit Alex Toailoa was lost after a tremendous fall camp. Senior Michael Togafau battled career-long injuries and was severely limited all season long. For several weeks during the season junior Jeff Edwards was lost. That's three players either down or out on a unit that couldn't afford to lose any.

To the benefit of Idaho's first-year coaching staff under head coach Nick Holt, the Vandals recruited Siua Musika, a 6-0, 301 pound nose guard who started every game for the Vandals as a true freshman. However, aside from senior backup defensive tackle James Coley and junior Eric Davis, Idaho relied heavily on defensive ends (mostly the 240 pound variety) to work the trenches alongside Musika.

That should change drastically in 2005. Back should be Siua Musika and a healthy Jeff Edwards (6-3, 267), and redshirt freshmen Alex Toailoa (6-1, 270) and Antonio Lindsey (6-2, 285). True sophomore offensive lineman Marcis Fennell (a 6-2, 280 pound standout DL and OL at Long Beach Poly) will be given a serious look at DL this spring, and the team will be joined by JC transfer Ryan Davis (6-0, 270) for spring drills as well.

What does Marvin bring? Plenty.

In September he was named the #8 prospect on the Sacramento Bee Top 25 Area High School Football Players list. Athletes on the list include those who attended schools in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties, plus players from the Monticello Empire and Solano County athletic leagues. What's the significance of this list? The #7 athlete, linebacker Isaac Kinter committed to Fresno State. The #10 athlete, DB Aiona Key, committed to Boise State. The list includes players committed to Stanford, Colorado, UCLA, and Cal among others. Who is ranked where on the list really isn't the point of mentioning it here, it's the fact that Marvin is listed among a fairly impressive class of athletes that is the key.

So what got him on this list? A 2-way starter for Bethel as a junior and a senior, it was his dominance on the offensive line that earned him the most accolades as a senior. He was named to the Times-Herald All Region Team as an offensive lineman, and to the Sacramento Bee 2004 All Metro Team (also as an offensive lineman). He was also named the Solano County Athletic Conference's Most Valuable Lineman 2 years in a row, while earning 1st Team All Conference honors.

As a junior he made his biggest impact on the defensive line, being named to the Sac-Joaquin All-Section Team as a defensive tackle (the team was chosen by the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation). In addition to the SCA Conference Most Valuable Lineman honor mentioned above, he was named a 1st Team All Conference lineman.

Between his junior and senior year he also excelled at the Palo Alto NIKE Training Camp in May. His 5.25 40 tied for 17th among 52 offensive linemen at the camp, and it was also the 9th fastest 40 reported at the camp by all DE/DT/OL prospects weighing 265 pounds or more (incidentally, the fastest 40 in this weight grouping was reported by fellow Vandal commit, offensive lineman Billy Bates with a 4.81 - 40).

The Times-Herald reported Marvin's commit on 1-19-05, publishing the following report:

After returning to the Bay Area on Sunday after a recruiting trip to the University of Idaho, the Bethel High lineman announced he would sign his letter of intent Feb. 2 to play for the Vandals in 2005.

"The program is going to be very good this year," Jones said confidently of a team that finished 3-9 and was outscored 473-245 in 2004. "They weren't so successful last year, but the coaches just got there."

Jones said he was mutually impressed by head coach Nick Holt, who enters his second season after coaching linebackers at USC, and defensive line coach James Cregg.
And football isn't the only sport where Mavin excels...He may be as good a wrestler as he is a football player. At the time this article was published, Marvin was currently ranked 3rd in the 275 pound weight classification by The Sacramento Bee. He finished among the Top 3 wrestlers in his conference and region in 2003 and 2004, and looks poised to do the same again this year.

So, does this all mean Marvin will be the second coming of previous Vandal greats like defensive tackle Marvin Washington (signed by the Jets in '89, Superbowl with Denver Broncos in '98), or Mao Tosi (delivered one of the greatest hits ever by a defensive lineman against Washington State)? We'll see. But before all that, he will be a welcome addition to a Vandal defensive front that should look SUBSTANTIALLY different in 2005...especially now with Marvin Jones in the ranks.

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