4-star LB: "Everything stood out" with Clemson
|Friday, September 1, 2017, 3:32 PM- -|
Mikel Jones is ready to hear more from Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
The dead period for contact is over and the Clemson coaching staff are freed up to talk to 2019 prospects like the elite linebacker out of IMG Academy (Fla).
“I’m looking to stay in touch with (Venables) as much as possible," Jones said. "I got to meet him during the spring game this year and he was a very nice guy. I want to build a good relationship with him over the next few months that I can talk to him.”
Jones was offered May of 2016 and the spring game was his first visit to Clemson. The 6-foot-2 defender listed Clemson as his leader when first offered - and with a spring commitment announcement targeted - the Tigers are still high on his list after a slew of offers since.
The Clemson visit left quite the impression, and he's looking to schedule a return trip this fall.
"It was the best visit that I’ve gone on so far this year," Jones said. "Everything stood out. The town, the people, the facilities, the coaches."
A personal connection to the Palmetto State is a factor too.
"I’ve got family that grew up and was raised in South Carolina and they always loved Clemson too," Jones said. "They loved the visit also."
The top-100 prospect moved to IMG from Hialeah, Florida, and Mater Academy, where he posted 77 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a defensive end. As a freshman, Jones earned his Clemson offer after racking up 12 sacks, 76 tackles and three forced fumbles to make second-team All-Dade County.
Jones says Venables and Clemson are targeting a move from outside linebacker, where he plays at IMG, to inside linebacker, at the college level.
"I’m trying to become one of the best linebackers coming out of my class and going to college prepared with the best skillset," Jones said on what he's looking to work on at IMG. "I’ve got a good linebacker coach here now. I feel like I can get better with everything. Covering, filling gaps and just as an overall linebacker."
Jones counts speed and use of hands - a skill sharpened at D-end - as his strengths and is targeting coverage skills as a spot to work on.
Playing alongside two Clemson commits - five-star 2018 defensive Xavier Thomas and four-star linebacker Mike Jones Jr. - he says he's hearing about the Tigers. Most from his position group teammate, Jones Jr., and his message on Clemson is short and sweet.
"Commit," Jones said.