The newest members of the LSU Football team are scheduled to arrive on campus on June 7th to begin summer camp. Until that point, TSD will be looking at each signee that has yet to report to campus.
Melvin Jones is one of many highly-ranked signees from LSU's 2013 recruiting class. TSD's Austin Cooper takes a look at what led Jones to LSU and what his future looks like in the program.
Following his junior season at Washington-Marion Magnet High School in Lake Charles, La., Jones ranked among the top middle linebackers in the country for the class of 2013. He garnered a four-star ranking as the No. 8 middle linebacker on the Scout.com network. Jones picked up an offer from his home-state LSU Tigers in May before his senior season, after picking up offers from programs such as Alabama prior to that. It didn't take Jones long to jump on the offer from the Bayou Bengals as he committed a month after receiving the overture.
Prior to committing to LSU, Jones was favoring programs like Alabama and Texas A&M. Jones ended up being a huge pickup at a position of need for the Tigers and he also eventually erased some of the academic concerns that had the LSU staff hesitant early in the process. In terms of overall talent, Jones was one of the top signees in the 2013 recruiting class for Jones.
Jones is perhaps one of the more interesting members of LSU's 2013 signing class because of his versatility. He played linebacker and quarterback for his high school team and he was very successful at both positions by accumulating 78 tackles on defense and 924 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
Jones is easily at his listed height of 6-3, but his weight has been known to fluctuate quite frequently, going anywhere from 240 pounds to 270 pounds. This has led many to believe that he may wind up on the defensive line in Baton Rouge. The LSU staff likes him at linebacker and unless he reports unusually heavy, he should fit right in at linebacker for the Tigers.
In the summer camp setting a year ago, Jones showed exactly why he was coveted by some of the top programs in the nation. Even though he is a big-bodied linebacker, Jones moves very well and has tremendous quickness to go along with good straight-line speed. Jones repeatedly proved that his pass coverage skills are also elite, as he had to match up with 2014 five-star running back Leonard Fournette on numerous occasions. Jones got the best of Fournette in more than one instance.
Overall, Jones is a tremendous talent with a big body at a position of need for LSU. The Tigers have not had a linebacker on their roster in recent years that can match both the size and athleticism of a player like Jones.
What kind of an impact Jones will make in his first year on campus completely depends on what his weight is at once he reports to Baton Rouge. At the very least, he should be expected to contribute in some form pretty early in 2013, whether that is on defense or on special teams.
It isn't out of the picture for Jones to see time at linebacker during his freshman campaign for the Tigers simply because of the athleticism that he has and his ability to stop the run. Injuries at his position could certainly speed up the process, but he has the ability to get on the field early at LSU.
If he reports heavier than what the staff is hoping for, there is always the chance that they could move him to the line where he would be expected to work primarily at tackle. In that case, a redshirt year seems likely so that Jones could learn the position and the techniques that go along with it.
In a perfect world, Jones will be able to contribute in some fashion as a first-year player for the Tigers.
Where Will Jones line up at LSU?
Just in case you missed any of the previous updates by the TSD crew, they are all listed below.
DE Michael Patterson
DE Lewis Neal
DE Tashawn Bower
WR Kevin Spears
OL K.J. Malone
CB Tre'Davious White
LB Kendell Beckwith
Signee Update: Melvin Jones
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