In the film room...Jamir Jones

The verbal commitment of Jamir Jones gives ND two defensive end prospects in the Class of 2016 – along with Julian Okwara -- with efforts continuing to land more.

• Stats: Credited with five sacks, 10 tackles for loss and two fumbles forced as a junior while leading the Little Irish in passing yards and touchdowns from the quarterback position.
 
• Assets: An aggressive, physical, get-up-the-field defensive edge player with the mobility to play an offensive skill position on the prep level. Excellent get-off. Explodes from stance with the ability to time the snap.

Does a quality job of getting off blocks by using his hands, whether it’s hand-to-hand fighting up high, or pushing off blockers at or below the knees. Solid change of direction with some athletic bounce moving laterally. Shows a lightness to his feet.

Wraps well. A sure tackler. Enjoys contact and flying to the football. Doesn’t take plays off. A competent high school quarterback who gives his prep team a chance to succeed by playing a multi-dimensional role. Overall, a solid prospect with a fairly high ceiling.

• Room for improvement: Overall strength with an immediate need to reshape his body, although you wouldn’t necessarily know that by seeing him in uniform. With his documented 4.9 time in the 40, better utilized moving up the field as opposed to role of pass dropper, although the 40 time doesn’t do his overall athleticism justice. Works out of right-handed stance from the left side.
 
• Top offers: Notre Dame; SEC: None; ACC: Boston College, Pittsburgh, Syracuse; Pac 12: None; Big 12: None; Big Ten: Rutgers; Others: Buffalo, Connecticut, Old Dominion; Interest: Penn State

• Why Notre Dame: Jones camped at Notre Dame last weekend, and when the scholarship offer came from defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, it was a matter of seconds before the brother of Irish nose tackle Jarron Jones accepted.

“I always knew I wanted to play at Notre Dame, and when VanGorder sat down and told me his plan with me, it became a reality that I couldn’t pass up,” said Jones to Irish Illustrated’s Steve Hare.

“I told him that I’d like to play football at the University of Notre Dame and that I accept the scholarship and commit.”

Jones offers some position flexibility.

“(VanGorder) told me Sam outside linebacker is where he sees me at (my) best, but if that doesn’t work out or I get too big, then he would like me to play defensive end, which he sees me doing very well, too,” Jones said.

Jones is pleased to have the recruiting aspect of the process behind him.

“It’s just a huge weight off my shoulders because all of the pressure is over,” Jones said. “The recruiting is over. It just feels great. I can’t wait to get down there, get to work and be a student at Notre Dame.”

• ND’s 2016 defensive end recruiting: The Irish have tossed a wide net in their efforts to land pass rushers. In the fold are Julian Okwara (Charlotte, N.C.) and Jones, brothers of current Irish defensive linemen Romeo and Jarron.

Five-star Oluwole Betiku (Gardena, Calif.) has expressed interest in the Irish, as have four-stars Justin Madubuike (McKinney, Texas) and Patrick Bethel (Vero Beach, Fla.). Recent Irish Invasion visitor and three-star Tomon Fox (Suwanee, Ga.) verbally committed to North Carolina.

Notre Dame appears to have cooled on four-star Khalid Kareem (Farmington Hills, Mich.) while trying to get Xavier Kelly (Wichita, Kansas) to campus. The Irish offered four-star Carlo Kemp (Boulder, Colo.), who participated in the Irish Invasion in ’14.

• ND’s 2016 defensive end depth chart: Romeo Okwara will be gone after the 2015 season, but every other defensive end on the roster has eligibility in 2016 or beyond. Isaac Rochell is the only current defensive end (besides Romeo Okwara) who will be down to one year in ’16.

Andrew Trumbetti, Grant Blankenship and Doug Randolph will have two years of eligibility, and Jonathan Bonner will have three. Incoming freshmen Julian Okwara and Jamir Jones will have three or four years remaining.

• Summary: For starters, we need to differentiate between Jarron Jones and Jamir Jones in terms of body type, strengths and long-term upside.

Jarron, of course, is a much bigger body and was inclined from the outset to be an interior defensive lineman, even when he was dominating at end in high school. Jamir is a better athlete and a much better fit on the edge, whether that’s in an upright outside linebacker position or with a hand on the ground.

Jamir Jones should not be judged by the narrow-shouldered pictures of him during the recruiting process. There’s much more than meets the eye once you let the film roll, although a radical adjustment in terms of physical conditioning/training is in order, much as it was for Jarron upon his arrival to Notre Dame.

Simply put, Jamir Jones is a much better prospect than initially meets the eye, particularly when you look at his offer list. He has upside as an outside linebacker because of his athleticism, savvy, bounce, good use of his hands and overall pass-rushing/run-supporting instincts. To play him at Sam linebacker expecting him to drop back in pass coverage isn’t the best use of his abilities. If he plays Sam with the Irish, it will be in more of an up-the-field pass rush/run-stopping role.

The best way to maximize Jamir Jones’ long-term abilities is to red-shirt him his freshman season at Notre Dame in 2016, reshape that athletic body, and then find a spot for him on the edge of the defense, whether that’s upright linebacker or defensive end with a hand on the ground. His best long-term position is defensive end. Bringing in the younger brother of Jarron also gives the Irish a better chance of keeping their nose tackle at Notre Dame through the 2016 season.



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