Matt Cashore / Irish Illustrated

Irish A-to-Z: Jonathan Jones

Listed at 5-foot-11, Jones is not the prototypical Mike linebacker. But he packs a punch, has good instincts and offers a football knowledge base to build upon in the future.

Selected to participate in The Opening in Oregon, Jones helped lead Oak Ridge High School (Ocoee, Fla.) to 19 victories in his last two seasons of prep football, including a pair of playoff berths.

Scout ranked Jones the No. 17 inside linebacker in the country in 2015 and 247Sports listed him as the 61st best player in the state of Florida.

Jones was placed on Notre Dame’s list of players to preserve a year of eligibility in ’16. He worked behind Nyles Morgan at Mike linebacker in the spring of ’17.

Class: Sophomore (Eligibility: 4)
On The Depth Chart: Ended spring listed as the No. 2 Mike linebacker behind Nyles Morgan
Post-Spring Status: Unchanged

JONES AT HIS BEST

Jones preserved a year of eligibility in 2016. In the April Blue-Gold Game, he was credited with two tackles, including a half-tackle for loss with Te’von Coney when they dumped Tony Jones Jr. for a one-yard loss late in the third quarter.

QUOTABLE

“Just a young player that’s learning the game. Both (Jones and Jamir Jones) are working through the little growing pains of being a young player.” -- LB coach Clark Lea

BEST CASE SCENARIO

Jones obviously is stuck behind Nyles Morgan at Mike linebacker until Morgan a) runs out of eligibility, which he does after the 2017 season or b) Morgan gets nicked up during the 2016 season. Jones is listed as the No. 2 Mike, which says that he’s one play away.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

Despite his No. 2 listing at Mike linebacker, defensive coordinator Mike Elko and linebackers coach Clark Lea almost undoubtedly would shift Te’von Coney or Greer Martini from the Buck to the Mike if something were to happen to Morgan. At the very least, Jones should be a strong candidate for special teams work.

CAREER COMPARISON

With a year of eligibility preserved, Jones is off the pace established by Te’von Coney, who played in 12 games as a freshman in ’15, recording 13 tackles. Coney was credited with 62 tackles while starting eight games as a sophomore in ’16, which Jones likely won’t do, even if Morgan were to suffer an injury.

But the two players are comparable in terms of size and skillset. Both are a bit undersized – Jones even more so – but pack a punch. Neither has great lateral range, which is limiting against the pass. In terms of run-fill capabilities, both excel in short space.


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