HD Roundtable: Must-get defensive recruit

Question: What 2016 defensive recruit is a must-have for the Longhorns?

Chip Brown

DT Kendell Jones

This is probably a popular pick. But there's a reason: DT is the hardest position to recruit in college football. And when you find a difference-maker at that position, you go all in.

Want to know why OU's defense has fallen off? Because they are not getting the DTs they used to get under Bob Stoops, such as Tommie Harris of Killeen Ellison, Dusty Dvoracek or Gerald McCoy.

Jones is far from a just-add-water, finished product. But at 6-5, 310 pounds, he has the kind of tools necessary to be an impact player.

And if he has anywhere close to the intangibles of Texas' last DT from Killeen Shoemaker - Roy Miller - then the kid absolutely rises to the top of the defensive priority list for 2016.

William Wilkerson

It’s between Jones, DE Justin Madubuike, and DT Ed Oliver.

Out of these three I believe Texas has the best chance with Jones, but that’s not the only reason he’s my answer here. When you have the opportunity to land a 6-foot-5, 310-pound, chissled from stone, light on his feet DT like Jones – and Texas has a great chance at doing so – you must finish the deal.

Jones has already been to Texas campus numerous times and loves everything about the Longhorns.

I saw just how important UT thinks Jones is when during a home game last season Jones was ushered out to the middle of the field during warmups to Charlie Strong, who proceeded to give him a big hug. That ain’t happening for everybody.

Texas needs a big-time DT in this class for numerous reasons. Chief among them is that UT will lose Tank Jackson. The Longhorns will have Hassan Ridgeway back but are still not 100 percent certain what they are going to get from Pau Boyette, Alex Norman, Poona Ford, Chris Nelson or Du’Vonta Lampkin.

I’m not saying Jones will be penciled in as a Day 1 starter, but he should be able to contribute as soon as he gets to campus. He’s a must-get.

Gabe Brooks

This is a tougher question than the one last week concerning offensive recruits (I went with Allen five-star offensive tackle and current Texas A&M commit Greg Little).

Three players stand out to me and just so happen to be our top three defensive prospects in Texas in the 2016 class: Killeen Shoemaker five-star defensive tackle Kendell Jones, Spring Westfield four-star defensive tackle Ed Oliver and McKinney North four-star defensive end Justin Madubuike.

Your secondary is only as good as your defensive line, so landing top-tier front-line prospects is an absolute necessity to compete with the elite schools at the high-major level. If I'm forced to pick one of those guys from Texas' standpoint, I guess I'd go with Jones, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound monster who looks like Godzilla in a football uniform.

Jones plays an odd-front nose role for Shoemaker and that's where his body suggests he may wind up at the next level. He's an ox at the point of attack who can knock offensive linemen off the LOS, or back up traffic to allow his linebackers to flow to the ball. Jones is so big and strong -- and flashes good burst at times -- that he can penetrate from his nose position as well, something you don't often see from guys playing that position. He's more than just a typical space-eating nose.

Obviously, an odd-front nose isn't ideal for Texas' primarily even-front scheme. But, Jones' ceiling is so high thanks to his frame, musculature, strength and athleticism that he is as automatic a take as any player in the country, regardless of scheme. If he improves his fluidity and lateral agility, while getting more consistent with his quickness off the ball, he could be a frightening jumbo even-front 3-tech (Examples: Detroit's Nick Fairley and Buffalo's Marcell Dareus, who played in an odd front in college at Alabama).

In other words, when you have a player like Jones, you just go get him and worry later about where he fits. Jones is also the closest defensive prospect geographically-speaking with Shoemaker only 66 miles from Darrell K. Royal Texas-Memorial Stadium. That gives even more incentive for landing Scout's No. 13 overall prospect in the 2016 class.

Nick Castillo

Kendell Jones

After striking out on 2015 five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack, the Longhorns will need to have a strong defensive line class in 2016. That being said, five-star defensive tackle Kendell Jones (Killeen, Texas) should be Texas’ top target.

Jones is the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in Texas. He’s the number No. 14 overall ranked player in the class. Jones, a Killeen Texas native, holds offers from a ton of top tier schools including Baylor, LSU, Miami (FL), Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. Jones is a fantastic athlete who is deceptively fast for his size and frame.

The Longhorns need a guy like Jones in the 2016 class.


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Five-star DT Kendell Jones' Junior Highlights


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