Publisher's Notes: Every weekday until the LSU football team reports for Fall Camp on Sunday, Aug. 4, TSD will unveil another player in our top 50 Tigers for the 2013 season. We arrived at this list by combining individual rankings from TSD's Austin Cooper, Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua. For example, a player who received a No. 1 vote got 50 points, a No. 2 vote got 49 points, and so on. Every player who received votes had his points totaled across all three individual lists, and the result was our final TSD ranking. All players, including incoming signees, were eligible for selection.
No. 23 – OLB Deion Jones
The quickest of the true freshmen linebackers a season ago, Deion Jones became a mainstay on the kickoff coverage team and saw limited action at outside linebacker in 2012. Jones, whose nickname is "Debo," finished his freshman campaign with 23 tackles, three for loss and three quarterback hurries. The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder played in all 13 games for the Tigers, registering at least one tackle in 11 of those contests.
The Jesuit product enters 2013 in a very similar situation on the depth chart, considering every outside linebacker who played a year ago is back this fall. Jones ran with the second team during spring drills, lining up opposite Kwon Alexander on the outside and next to Lamar Louis in the middle. He's a great speed guy for John Chavis to turn to in certain situations, and Jones himself even admitted this spring he'll be all over the field on special teams in 2013.
By The Numbers
Jones' highest ranking: 14th
Jones' lowest ranking: 35th
Why this ranking is too high
Jones is a backup defensive player at a position where LSU has mounds of depth already, and his most pertinent role is as a kick coverage weapon. It could also be argued that at 202 pounds, Jones is on the lighter side of where a linebacker should be, weight-wise. At least until starting strongside linebacker Tahj Jones is injured or graduated and off campus, Debo's value remains a bit in question.
Why this ranking is too low
He can absolutely fly. In an interview I conducted with Chavis during spring practice, Chavis preferred not to use the terms ‘quick' or ‘fast' when describing Jones, instead saying "he's got some suddenness about him that you just don't see in a lot of athletes." That ability to appear out of nowhere and fill a hole or funnel a ball carrier into the teeth of LSU's defense makes Jones a very valuable commodity to Chavis. Plus, his special teams work isn't just good, it's extraordinary.
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View TSD's Top 50 to date
No. 23 - Deion Jones
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