You have to love it when a plan comes together. Just like last cycle, many worried about Texas’ recruiting efforts in the trenches and just like last cycle things are falling into place. The Longhorns recently added another Louisianimal in Many (LA) defensive end Myron Warren after he de-committed from TCU and now they have added another versatile piece that recently de-committed from another regional rival in Oklahoma.
Jacoby Jones was offered by Texas months ago, but opted to shut it down in favor of the Sooners. With defensive efforts appearing to be optional these days in Norman, Jones decided to take an official to Austin and re-open his recruitment. Jones was on hand to witness the Longhorn defense put on one of their best performances of the season against a ranked Iowa State squad and on top of that they were able to show him where he fit within the defense in the immediate future.
With Breckyn Hager, Charles Omenihu, and Chris Nelson all graduating after this season, the Texas staff needed to find a way to replenish the depth chart and they found a very capable player in Jones.
Name: Jacoby Jones
Position: DE, DT
Junior College: Butler Community College
City & State: El Dorado, KS
2017: 21 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3.5 sacks
2018: 55 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 1 FR
- At 6’4, 250 pounds Jones possesses good size and athleticism that will allow him to be a versatile piece along the defensive line.
- Lines up everywhere from a head up nose out to the 5 outside the tackle on tape. That kind of versatility is a big plus with how Todd Orlando likes to deploy his defensive lineman.
- His box score stats don’t do him justice. Very disruptive player, who can do from several spots along the defensive front.
- Doesn’t disappear when he kicks inside between the guards. Still able to stack bodies and get penetration despite giving up some size to his opponents.
- Flashes a good get off and a nice speed to power move that includes a long arm.
- Shows good quickness vertically and laterally on rushes and stunts. Shows the ability to get back underneath tackles when lined up outside and cause problems in the backfield.
- Active with his hands and doesn’t rely on doesn’t rely on brute strength.
- Shows a good motor on film and is constantly hustling to get involved plays down the field.
- Tends to lean on power moves as a pass rusher. Will need to do a better job of diversifying as a rusher with the step up in competition.
- Jumps inside at times during rushes a bit prematurely at times. While that works at times, it can open rush lanes for the quarterback to escape.
- Needs to improve on how he takes on pulling offensive linemen.
Jacoby Jones is a 2-year junior college starter out of Butler Community College via McCluer North high school in St. Louis, MO. At 6’4, 250 pounds Jones has been a versatile defensive chess piece that has lined up at several spots along the defensive front at Butler. Jones lines up everywhere from a head up nose over the center out to the 5 tech on tape and he was active and disruptive from every single spot. That versatility is one of the biggest positives I took away from my film review on him due to how Texas likes to deploy and use their defensive linemen in odd fronts. Jones’ quickness on stunts has potentially to be problematic for interior offensive linemen and could be a real weapon on passing downs. Along with his quickness, Jones does a good job of using his hands and does a nice job of converting speed to power in his rushes and has enough play strength to drive offensive linemen back into the pocket. Jones has the production that shows up in the box score (14 sacks) and he also has the kind that won’t, as he logs a lot of pressures and hits on the quarterback. Jones is going to make his fair share of hustle plays due to the effort he plays with consistently, as you see him often hustling down the field to get in on plays and making tackles. At this point in development I only have a few knocks on Jones given the tape I’ve seen on him. One of my critiques is that he seems to lean a little heavy on the power rushes on tape rather than fully utilizing his skillset more. I think as he continues to develop and unlocks his full potential as a rusher that he has a chance to be a real problem. On top of that, I would like to see him attack pulling offensive lineman more aggressively, which is something that is relatively minor and can be coached up in time. It’s just something worth mentioning since it could prove to be problematic if not corrected in time.
With Jones now in the boat, Texas has a rock solid defensive line group for this recruiting cycle, and just like last year things came together down the home stretch despite the hand wringing that took place from those who follow recruiting closely. At this point the staff has earned the benefit of the doubt with how they operate on the trail and they’ve certainly shown they are capable of filling out their recruiting classes with capable bodies when things aren’t looking so rosy in-state at particular positions.
With several players graduating at the position after this season, I’d expect that Jones will immediately push for playing time and even though he still has a redshirt available, he probably won’t be needing it going forward unless an injury occurs. Jones versatility will give the staff flexibility in different packages as they try to optimize their different groupings and is something that makes him such an appealing prospect . The staff has shown that they like to go with the smaller, quicker defensive linemen for their odd fronts so that they can put them on the move and create negative plays, and Jones fits that bill exactly.
With the recruiting cycle hitting the home stretch, spots are now at a premium, but Texas has a chance to net a second consecutive Top 5 recruiting class if they can close with a bang.
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