Name: Kellen Jones
Location: Houston, Texas
Position: LB (could play either inside or out)
Ratings: Scout – 4*, Rivals – 3*, ESPN – 3* (79)
Recruitment: Jones’ family have been big Michigan fans for a while now, and there was a lot of excitement when he got the offer. He had offers from a lot of BCS schools and managed to visit a couple in Big 12 country; but really Michigan was always the leader. He just needed to get on campus to make sure he fitted in there, which he clearly did. Jones committed to UM on July 29th whilst on his unofficial visit.
Offers: Michigan, Illinois, Boise State, Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Texas A&M, Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas and a few others.
Stats: Listed as around 6'1 and 210lbs, he could do with adding a bit more weight if he wants to play inside. He runs the forty yard dash in 4.6 seconds, which is very quick. As a junior he played in nine games, registering 75 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 17 QB hurries, 6 sacks and three forced fumbles. He also blocked four punts and two field goals. Had two touchdowns, one from an interception, and the other from a fumble recovery.
ESPN Analysis: Jones is an excellent athlete showing the ability to make big plays all over the field. Has the size for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. We like this guy’s flexibility, balance and agility. Uses he speed well to avoid contact with blockers, making him extremely effective on the blitz. Times the blitz well and causes havoc in the backfield whether rushing up the middle or on the edge. Wraps up well in the tackle and has great closing speed. Also a great special teams player; had numerous blocks as a junior.
From the man himself - “I’m able to read the play and can react fast. I’m a great blitzer and run stopper. I can also tackle and don’t let the guy get away.I’m working on my change of direction speed. I want to improve my hip flexibility and get better at pass coverage.”
Improvements: He has the speed and athleticism to succeed in pass coverage, just needs a bit more practice.
Film Highlights: Link here.
Final Thoughts: Inside linebacker isn’t a position of strength for Michigan right now, so Jones could well make an impact early in his career. Given his superb special teams work, I don’t think he’ll redshirt. It’s a great pickup for Michigan, he’s a talented true LB who will earn a consensus 4 stars by national signing day.
One major concern with Jones is that he suffered a pretty bad concussion earlier in high school, and he’ll need a medical clearance before he steps anywhere near the field. Michigan will be aware of this, and it’s something they will have to monitor closely. Maybe Jones already has the go ahead from doctors? Hopefully this will get cleared up soon.