Coach's Corner: Melvin Jones

Washington-Marion coach Freddie Harrison discusses what the future might hold for linebacker, and LSU commitment, Melvin Jones. Harrison also breaks down what he expects out of Jones when he arrives on the LSU campus, and also the process that has led him to Baton Rouge.

When Melvin Jones gave his verbal commitment to LSU in June of 2012, he filled a need for a big, athletic middle linebacker that the Tigers had been trying to find for quite a while. The 6-3 245 pound Jones, who starred at Washington-Marion High School in the Lake Charles (La.) area, collected 78 tackles and one interception in 2012, while also handling quarterback duties for the Indians.

Head Coach Freddie Harrison feels that Jones will have no problem with the transition to the college game, mainly because of instincts and the size that Jones already possesses. Harrison also explained that LSU is getting a player that will have no problem understanding and adjusting to the college game.

"LSU is getting a very versatile player," said Harrison. Melvin can play multiple positions. He has a very high football IQ and he is very hungry to play football at a high level. He's a great kid."

While there aren't many question marks regarding Jones, Harrison said that his star player could excel wherever the LSU staff decides to play Jones on defense. However, while he is very versatile, Harrison feels that Jones will end up playing the position that he has been recruited for.

"I think that once he gets to LSU, he will do whatever it takes to get on the field," said Harrison. "I think LSU will play him wherever is best for him. There are other guys in this class for them like Melvin that can play multiple positions and move around on defense."

"I think he stays at linebacker when he gets to Baton Rouge. He has the ability to run sideline to sideline and make plays in the middle for an already great defense."

With LSU only taking two linebackers in the 2013 class, especially with Jones being the prototypical middle linebacker, one would have to assume that Jones would get a fair shot to see the field in his first year on campus.

Harrison explained that Jones learned where he stacks up against other players on the LSU roster while on his official visit to the school last weekend.

"He's number three on the depth-chart right now," said Harrison. "They have a planned starter at this point from what they told him. He went there on his official visit and he saw where he stood on the depth chart. It was made clear to him that he can definitely make a move up the list quickly. They have very high expectations for him to contribute next season."

While the departure of junior Kevin Minter opened up an opportunity for Jones to compete for playing time early at LSU, Harrison explained that Jones would have been happier if Minter had stayed, regardless of how much playing time he would have received.

"I think he was really excited to get to learn from Kevin Minter," said Harrison. "That was a key factor in Melvin choosing LSU, just the career that Minter had there. He was looking forward to learning everything about the defense from a great player like Minter."

"I don't think Melvin shies away from competition. I think he just wanted an opportunity to learn and make sure that he has everything down. Learning from a guy like Minter would have been a great experience for him."

Even though the opportunity to learn from a player like Kevin Minter drew the attention of Jones, Harrison believes that the four-star prospect picked LSU for greater reasons.

Coming from a very tight-knit family, Jones was looking for a school with national prominence, as well as a school within driving distance of his home. Harrison said Jones found those qualities at LSU and instantly fell in love with the school, resulting in his commitment to the Bayou Bengals.

"I think main factor was the proximity to home," said Harrison. "He is also a loyal kid who wanted to stay close to his family because they like to stay together. Anywhere else would have made that very difficult for him."

"His entire family will get to watch him play and have a great career. LSU is also a top school in the country. That definitely affected his decision because he likes to compete with the best and he has very high expectations for himself."

Harrison also added that, contrary to rumors, Jones is fully qualified and ready to report to LSU.

"He's ready to go," said Harrison. "He has both the ACT and core grade point average. A lot of people were speculating that he might not be eligible, but that isn't correct."


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