Catching up with Clemson LB commit Mike Jones
|Monday, December 12, 2016, 7:01 AM- -|
While Mike Jones, Jr. is busy dodging college coaches during the recruiting contact period, he’s also gearing up to do a little recruiting of his own.
The 2018 4-star Bradenton (FL) IMG outside linebacker and Clemson commit told TigerNet Sunday evening that he’s cut off all contact with college coaches, except those from Clemson.
“There are still some coaches trying to get in touch with me, but it definitely has slowed down,” Jones told TigerNet. “During the offseason, we had a like a whole bunch coaches come to our school. The only one I ran into was Coach (Greg) Schiano, linebacker coach at Ohio State. Everybody else I was pretty able to avoid except Coach (Tony) Elliott from Clemson. Everybody else I was able to avoid. I've just been maneuvering around them and really focusing on next season and not much recruiting because I know where I'm going.”
While he’s not focused on his own recruiting, he will play the part of recruiter when 5-star defensive end Xavier Thomas transfers from Florence (SC) Wilson to IMG next year.
“It would be crazy (to have Thomas at IMG), especially on the d-line. If you add him rushing on the edge, it would change our whole defense,” Jones said. “Just like last year, teams weren't able to drop back and have time and that gives our DBs more time and allows us to get more sacks with our DBs knocking stuff down. It would make things more difficult for offenses to play against.
“I'm definitely going to do everything I can to get him to Clemson, personally. I'm not going to say I'm not.”
Jones knows a thing or two about the transfer process to IMG, but he said after a 12-0 season, he made the right decision.
"Everything went good. At first, I was definitely nervous about coming and leaving home, but as time went on I got close to the team and everything went good," he said. "We went 12-0. The defense pitched five shutouts so we played great as a team. Those are my brothers, so it all went good.
"That was definitely one of my reasons for leaving. I'm not trying to down Tennessee football but it's definitely a different level of speed and everything coming out here and playing against some of the top teams and top recruits in the nation."
In one of IMG’s first games of the season, Jones squared off against fellow Clemson commit and Loganville (GA) Grayson quarterback Chase Brice, a game in which Jones said he had his highlight reel moment.
“Probably for me, I had an interception against Grayson in the first drive after halftime," Jones said. "That was probably my favorite moment of the year. Chase is great. We had a really tough week of preparation getting ready to play against him because of his great quick game. That was what we were focused on more was his quick game. They go short passes all the way down the field. He's really poised. Personally, just knowing him he is a great guy. He is definitely one of those guys I look forward to playing with."
With the season over, Jones is looking forward to getting back to Clemson in January for one of the Tigers’ annual junior days.
"Just staying around with commits. I love talking to all of the defensive coaches," Jones said. "I'd like to talk to Coach V (Brent Venables) a little bit and talk a little scheme. It's just good to get back. I really enjoy it. The coaches keep telling me to just keeping on with what's going on. When I come in, they'll be in a position with six or seven 10-win seasons, College Football Playoff. The best is the standard, so they just tell me about keeping up that legacy and being in the top tier of teams in the nation."