LSU Football Recruting: Tigers' 4-Star Commit Melvin Jones Has Huge Potential
Les Miles and the LSU Tigers got a huge commitment in the form of 4-star inside linebacker Melvin Jones, both literally and figuratively.
Literally, Jones is a very big prospect—at 6'3'', 245 pounds—which makes him a perfect fit for the type of football he'll be expected to play with the Tigers in the SEC.
His size is something that he obviously feels is an advantage for him, and according to William Weathers of TigerBait.com, it may have been a contributing factor toward his decision to pick LSU:
One of the initial concerns for Jones when it came to considering LSU was the Tigers overall depth at linebacker. At the heart of the matter was last year's signing haul of six linebackers until Jones dug a little deeper to see that none of them weighed more than 220 pounds.
"At first I was concerned and it made me think," Jones said. "I looked at the depth chart and saw that none of them had the size that I had which is a plus for me. I decided from there I had a chance of playing with my size and athletic ability."
At a fundamental level, he should have no problem fitting his responsibilities as a Mike linebacker in the LSU system. He's big and strong enough to plug both A gaps against the run, and in a power running conference like the SEC, that is a must.
Where Jones may really set himself apart, though, is with his athleticism.
Middle linebackers are expected to be big and strong, so where they really set themselves apart is with their athleticism. Can they drop back into the hole on a zone? Can to they get to the edge before the runner? Can they track down a mobile quarterback on a blitz?
Those are the traits that distinguish the good from the great, and Jones has what it takes to be great.
Even at his size, he has a great amount of quickness and athleticism—this is a kid who also played quarterback for Washington-Marion High School, mind you.
He was able to get in the backfield and chase down running backs, but where he really looked good was in coverage. He moves well in space and seemed to display great vision and instincts in pass defense, probably because of his time spent at quarterback.
He notched 140 tackles, 15 for a loss, five sacks, four interceptions and four recovered fumbles in 2011.
LSU's recruiting class now stands at 17 and now features nine 4-star recruits, four of which are slated to be defenders, according to Rivals.
This is great for a program that is consistently trying to retool instead of rebuild, and the addition of a player with the size and skills of Jones will pay dividends in the future.
As other SEC opponents are building faster, stronger offenses, LSU can develop a young, athletic defender like Jones to counter them.
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