PROFILE - Southern Lab's Chad Jones

Professional baseball could end up taking one of LSU's biggest signees from the 2006 class depending on just how high Jared Mitchell gets drafted.

Les Miles had better get used to sweating out the major league baseball draft because one of his top targets for 2007 is also one of the top pitching prospects in the country for the '07 draft.

Chad Jones, a 6-2, 215-pounder with 4.5 speed, is a familiar name to LSU fans because many remember his name popping up when his older brother, Al, was being recruited out of St. Augustine a year ago.

Now, the younger Jones' time has finally come and he is one of the top linebacker/safety prospects in America.

On the gridiron, Jones is an exceptional safety prospect out of Baton Rouge-Southern Lab. He transferred to Southern Lab when he had to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina and was a big splash for the Kittens as he rolled up 84 tackles, picked off four passes and earned first team all-state honors.

"Chad has good speed, a good nose for the ball, and he is very aggressive," said Southern Lab head coach Michael Roach. "He also has great instincts. He has all of the intangibles that you just can't coach."

Roach runs a 4-4-3 defense and he uses Jones in various ways. He plays a cross between free safety and strong safety but he also has the presence to play closer to the line.

Some feel that Jones will ultimately move to linebacker at the college level and Roach things that is a viable option.

"He is an outside linebacker or strong safety at the next level," Roach said. "We leave him at free safety but in our scheme he actually plays more of a dual safety. We have to keep him back there because he runs better than any defensive back we have."

The next level that Roach alluded to could also come in the form of pro baseball because Jones is a hot commodity in the eyes of some baseball scouts. There are not many left-handers out there that throw in the mid 90's but Jones is one of them.

"According to folks around here, Chad is expected to go pretty high in the baseball draft," Roach said. "The kid is a southpaw that has been clocked around 95 mph. If I had that to offer I would be feeling pretty good about my future."

Roach said that Jones has not mentioned any plans regarding his future but if he had to guess then he would have to side with baseball for now.

"He has a natural love for baseball and you can se it in his eye when he talks about it," said Roach. "He has not said anything yet as of what he likes more but I'd say it would probably be baseball."

The talk of pro baseball does not seem to bother college coaches from around the country as they are lining up to get a chance at Jones.

Thus far, LSU, Miami, Alabama, Clemson, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and most of the SEC schools have already offered according to Roach.

Jones is one of the many prospects who will be attending LSU's Junior Day on March 4 and he will likely sit down and talk to LSU head baseball coach Smoke Laval on that trip.

"He has talked to coach Miles and also to Turtle Thomas about playing both sports at LSU," Roach said. "It's early but I know he does like LSU."

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