Big California CB with offer from NU

It's an old story about the receivers getting bigger and bigger as the years go along. Where you used to see only once in a great while a receiver that was 6-5 or better, but he could actually play, nowadays, that's almost commonplace. That means the cornerbacks have to get bigger, stronger and still maintain their speed. That means players like Jonas Mouton are becoming hot commodities and getting hotter all the time.

A 6-2 cornerback, even in today's world, that's not the most common thing in the world. Sure, there are plenty of players that size that try to play the position, but often times, they turn out to be too rigid, not nearly mobile enough to keep up with both the bigger and smaller receivers they see.


For Venice High School's ( Los Angeles ) Jonas Mouton, he's gotten used to the stereotype of big cornerbacks that can't move or close on the ball. "It's funny when you watch games and because the offense has all these big receivers, the other team puts as big of guys on them, but they aren't really cornerbacks," Jonas said. "It just makes it worse, because to play cornerback, you have to be able to move and have the instincts of a cornerback."


The instincts if you are indeed a true corner are pretty simple, at least in theory. And, for Mouton, that's actually one of the more fun aspects of his job. "It's like a feeling out process early in the game," he said. "You try to get a handle on the guy to see whether he's just physical or he's a physical guy that can move. That way you know if you are going to play him a little tighter or give him some extra room so you can play both him and the ball."


That's the kind of analytical thinking you expect out of a DB playing primarily in zone packages. It's about learning to play the ball, the situation and not so much the receiver himself. That was one reason for Mouton's reported 6 interceptions last year, half of those being taken back for touchdowns. Plus, you can throw in over 70 tackles for his junior year.


Of course, someone 6-2 and around 215 lbs., you can't think of all the positions that Mouton can play and Mouton would admit that he can't even remember all the spots he's been at throughout his young career. "When I was younger, I was a defensive end and linebacker," Jonas said. "After that, it's been running back, wide receiver, safety, cornerback, just about anywhere and everywhere they could play me they did."


Last year, Jonas played no less than four positions, head coach Angelo Gasca playing Mouton at running back, wide receiver, defensive back and safety. All in all, that accounted for approx. 1,000 yards in total offense and double-digit touchdowns along with the aforementioned scores on defense.


The dilemma for not just his high school coach, but the colleges recruiting Mouton is easy, but it's a nice dilemma to have and when you aren't sure exactly what Mouton could end up playing, you get that tag of ‘athlete', a school opting to just recruit you for wherever you will fit in best. "It seems like most of the schools recruiting me aren't really saying one position or the other," Jonas said. "Some say corner, some say safety, but they also say that they are going to work me out at one spot, but I could end up playing someplace else."


"So, there's really nothing definite as to what position they would like me to play."


While the schools aren't committing to one position, Mouton knows where he'd like to play when he reaches the division 1-A level. It's that position that makes secondary coaches drool at the thought of someone Mouton's size actually being all-around capable of playing the spot. "I've just always liked the defensive side more," Mouton said. "I like reading the offenses, making plays on the ball and getting that big hit. I'd rather play defensive back than anything if I had the choice."


Mouton approaches his secondary-spot a little differently than most you might see. While many cornerbacks are concerned with taking their man out of the game both mentally and physically, Mouton opts for the most stealth-like approach. In fact, Jonas would say that he's at his best in beating his guy when he's not thinking about his guy at all. "I watch the situation more than the man," Jonas said. "At this level, you don't want to underestimate quarterbacks, but they can't do or don't do a lot of the things you see at the higher levels."


"So, I look at the play, the motion, what the quarterback is doing while keeping an eye on my guy just enough to know where he's lining up. Once I get a feel for the guy I am matched up against, then I know how much I can get away with in reading the QB or having to keep track of my guy."


He's a thinker, no doubt about it and when he's pondering colleges, he's not thinking about taking basket weaving while he's there. Try mathematical engineering on for size, the major Mouton is concentrating on and will be looking at his potential schools with that subject clearly in mind.


Oh, that along with the football program.


"There's so much about the school that is important, but if it feels right and I know that it will suit me academically and what I want to do for the future, I'll go there," Mouton said. "I'd just as soon not go to a place where it's freezing all the time, but if it's the right place for me, I'll go there to."


At least when it comes to climate, Mouton can be pretty happy as his written offers have come from two southern states (Arizona and Mississippi State) and one (Nebraska) that is fairly seasonal. For a California kid, you'd have to ask if Mouton is waiting for that one offer, so that he can stay close to home. "USC wasn't my childhood favorite," Mouton said of the two-time defending national champions. "Actually, I was born in Louisiana."


Ok, so that begs the question; what about LSU? "They've always been in my mind as a school for the future, but there really is no school that is sitting above any other. Right now it's just way too early."

Yes it is as before any schools or official visits, Mouton is thinking about camps and right now, there's only one he knows of that he'll be attending for certain. "I know I am going to the USC camp, but Nebraska and Mississippi State have invited me to theirs, but I don't know if I will be able to make those."


Again, though, there's lots of time and for right now, recruiting is more an idea than it is reality for the Venice senior-to-be. He's just ready to enjoy everything in this year to come. "It's already been pretty fun and interesting, but I know it's a long road ahead," Mouton said. "I'm looking at every single school right now and I have lots of time to do it. I'll make sure to think everything through, though, because this is one decision I don't want to have to take back. So, when it's done, it's done and I am looking to the future."


Read more about Jonas, who's recruiting him from Nebraska and about a connection Jonas actually has to the Huskers right now, only at the Red Zone.

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