Commit Mike Jones: Early Grad, Future OLB?

Talking with Coach Bill Gierke about 2009 Michigan commit Mike Jones (Defensive Back) from Edgewater High School in Orlando, Florida.

GoBlueWolverine chatted with Edgewater headman Gierke about Mike Jones. GoBlueWolverine: What type of player is he on the field for your football team?

Coach Gierke: He has been a starter on defense for three years. He is a defensive back who could easily grow into an outside linebacker. He is every bit of 6'3, 205 lbs. He is a very rangy kid who could end up at 235-240 lbs. He can run well and loves to make contact, and his best attribute is that he loves to hit. Mike rather fits what Michigan is trying to do up there on defense with their style of play.

GoBlueWolverine: Have you dealt with the new Michigan coaches before? How do you compare them to the old staff since you have dealt with the old staff when Greg Mathews played for you?

Coach Gierke:Coach Davies: I know the quarterback coach real well (Rod Smith) who use to be at South Florida, and I know Coach Rodriguez from when he was at West Virginia who recruited some of my players that ended up playing for him at West Virginia. Coach Rodriguez is a player's coach who has to get his type of players. It is a change up there at Michigan with a different style offense from what they are use to running at Michigan, and he needs to get his style of players to fit his system.

I have known Lloyd Carr for quite awhile and all those coaches were very good coaches and great people. I am not a young guy; I've have been doing this for a long time, so I remember when Les Miles was an assistant at Michigan and recruited my area. I have dealt with Michigan coaches for many, many years so I have nothing but good things to say for the University of Michigan and the Big Ten conference as well, because they play great football and they graduate their players.

Greg Mathews plays up there who played for me and he loves it. He loves the school, the community, and he loves the fact that he is going to graduate on time.

GoBlueWolverine: Did you have an idea that Mike was going to play out of state and head north to a place like Michigan?

Coach Gierke: He visited three or four schools up north this summer with his parents, and fell in love with Michigan. What is not to like about Michigan. I knew Mike was going to go out of state because his older brother signed with Florida State and then transferred to Eastern Kentucky, along with his sister last year who signed a volleyball scholarship to play at Marquette. So I rather figured he was planning on going out of state.

His dad went out of state to play as well (Eastern Kentucky) and ended up in the NFL. A first-round (18th) draft choice, Jones played 9 NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (88-92), New England Patriots (93-95), and the Miami Dolphins (96).

Go BlueWolverine: Have the Michigan coaches talked to you about what positions they are looking to use Mike at or at least start him out at when he arrives at Michigan?

Coach Gierke: I believe they are going to stick him at strong safety first and see how he adapts to that position, which I believe will fit their style. We run the same type of defense that Coach Rodriguez ran at West Virginia (3-3-5) so he has been one of those outside linebacker / safeties for four years, and I believe he could play either position at the college level.

GoBlueWolverine: Do you think Mike is looking to play his first year; have the coaches talked to him about what their plans for Mike will be?

Coach Gierke: Mike is going to try to be an early entry - he wants to graduate high school early and be able to participate in spring football. From my perspective as a high school football coach that is probably the number one thing-- I would advise a kid to do if he can do it. Because it really helps them get started along with being able to take college classes a half year early so he can concentrate on graduating college early as well. In addition, it gives them a feel on how much different the college level is in the springtime, so they will not be shocked as much like when kids come in during the fall.

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