- Class: Sophomore
- On the depth chart: Third-string Mike linebacker, Rush End
- Post-spring status: Developmental
A consensus three-star prospect across recruiting services, Jones chose Notre Dame over east coast programs such as Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Boston College.
A prospect without a definitive position entering the collegiate ranks, Jones surprised most with a freshman year monogram, one earned on the strength of his special teams contributions where he ranked first on the squad with eight tackles covering kickoffs.
He’ll likely reprise that role as a sophomore, a season during which he’ll likely backup two positions.
“We’re cross-training Jamir Jones inside and on the edge on third down. We’re seeing some young, athletic players that are adding to our defense,” said head coach Brian Kelly of Jones during the spring.
“He’s up to 242 pounds; I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to hold him back from being a bigger guy.” – Kelly on Jones this spring.
BEST CASE SCENARIO
A role in new defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s sub packages.
A neophyte at the position, Jones is unlikely to overtake classmate Jonathan Jones as the backup Mike linebacker – the latter Jones is a natural at the position and has studied there since his arrival.
But Jones’ potential as a backup pass-rusher off the edge could augment his role covering kickoffs (and perhaps punts this season), making him a valuable commodity as a developmental sophomore. Notre Dame desperately needs to upgrade both its coverage units and pass rush – opportunity thus knocks, twice, for the second year competitor this fall.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
Getting lost in the shuffle.
Jones was needed as a third-string Mike ‘backer in the spring but it’s a role he could cede to incoming freshman David Adams in August. That means his career path would likely be along the defensive front coming off the edge. Weight would be needed, at least if he’s to develop into more than a situational player. And that added bulk could limit what appears to be a bright future on special teams.
It would be best for Jones if he could settle into a position along the defensive front by season’s end, aiding the Irish special teams throughout 2017.
How about Steve Quinn? (2005-2008)
Both Quinn and Jones began their Irish careers as backup linebackers that forged their way onto the field covering kicks as true freshman, with Jones registering eight stops and Quinn seven. Both played in 10 games in their rookie campaigns.
Quinn went on to make more than 400 special teams appearances over the course of his 47 games played (2 starts as a senior linebacker) in an Irish uniform.
Jones’ eight tackles in kickoff coverage last fall were accrued over the final eight contests coinciding with his insertion into the role.