Jonathan Jones ‘a natural leader’

According to his former head coach, Jonathan Jones will bring equal measures of athleticism and leadership to Notre Dame’s defense.

The intangibles of Jonathan Jones are as impressive as his talent.

That’s the take of former Oak Ridge head coach Tyrone Sapp, who coached Notre Dame’s newest linebacker last year.   

“I’ve never coached a player both that physically gifted and that great of a person,” Sapp said. “I know coaches embellish their players sometimes, but with Jones, I’m not. He comes from a great home life with mom and dad. He’s a natural leader. When he speaks, others listen to him.”

Brian Kelly’s first, and potentially only, National Signing Day commitment announced for Notre Dame over Michigan this morning.

“He definitely loved the fact that Notre Dame is a great institution,” Sapp said. “He loves the brand. He’ll get a tremendous education.  

“He loves the big stage of Notre Dame and how he’ll be in a position to compete for championships.”

Notre Dame projects Jones as a weak side linebacker, the same position played by Jaylon Smith under Brian VanGorder. The Irish also like the three-star prospect’s versatility as a potential middle linebacker candidate.

“Jonathan reads his keys very well,” Sapp said. “He’s a great student of the game with an ability to read and react to the tendencies of the opponent that we practiced during the week. He’s a physical player that likes to initiate contact. He does a good job of disengaging as well.”

With a coveted mix of intangibles and athleticism, Jones has strong potential to create a memorable legacy as an Irish player.

“I think absolutely Jones is underrated,” Sapp said. “He’s a super competitor. Once he gets into Notre Dame’s regimen, he will really shine. He’s not one of these guys that hit their plateau in high school. He’s extremely coachable and loves the game of football.”


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