2016 Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge linebacker Jonathan Jones is on the final lap of his recruitment and is down to five schools: Michigan, Duke, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Central Florida.
“Everybody is on a clean slate. I have my eyes open to everybody, trying to contemplate everything. Michigan is definitely high up,” Jones (6’1, 225-pounds) said in an interview with MGoFish.
As for the Wolverines, they made it a point to see Jones the first day after the “dead” period ended. Newly hired defensive coordinator, Don Brown, had an in-home visit with Jones Thursday night before he took an official visit to Central Florida this weekend.
“It was great. Coach Don Brown came by and talked with my family. He sat down and told me about himself, where he thinks I should play, the things he has in store for Michigan. He’s definitely a great guy and will definitely make an impact,” Jones said.
When Jones took his official visit to Ann Arbor on December 11, Jones and head coach Jim Harbaugh discussed the then open position at defensive coordinator left by DJ Durkin.
“When I was up there on my official, coach Harbaugh had mentioned him (Brown). He was like ‘I want a guy with a big track record.’ What a better guy than who’s had the number one defense in college football? That was a great pickup. He definitely belongs at Michigan,” Jones said.
Brown’s in-home visit consisted primarily of building a relationship with Jones by sharing a background of his coaching experience and where he envisions Jones playing in Michigan’s defense.
“He was telling me a little bit about himself, his track record. And then also, where he sees me playing, he’s got that SAM and WILL spot. He really likes that SAM spot for me,” Jones said.
Jones really enjoyed his official visit to Michigan a month ago. He was hosted by freshman, Tyree Kinnel.
“It went great, I got to really see a lot of the team. I’ve already seen the academics and I’ve been talking to the coaches for forever. I didn’t really know the team before, but they seemed like cool dudes on a mission that are hungry,” Jones said.
“I went to the movies and saw Creed. Went to the banquet, basketball game, toured the campus. I went to the movies with my host, Tyree, great dude; definitely looking to see him come up,” Jones said.
Harbaugh’s passionate and enthusiastic personality is well-liked by Jones.
“He’s the best different. He gets the job done. I’ve never seen him get into anybody (players) in a negative way. At the end of the day he’s going to get the job done in a respectful manner. Everybody I talked to on the team— they love him, said he’s a great guy to play for. He knows what he’s talking about, he’s a great coach, and I see that,” Jones said.
One of the most impressive things Jones noticed during his time bonding with the Michigan players was the way the upperclassmen spoke about Harbaugh.
“A couple of dudes who were fifth-year seniors, dudes who are at the end of their careers. He came in at the end of their careers and they speak highly of him, they wish he could have been there the whole time,” Jones said.
After an official visit to Central Florida this weekend, Jones will take his final official to Duke next weekend. He will make his final announcement on National Signing Day on February 3.
Photo Credit: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS