Saturday, July 31, 2010

the recruit: Marco Jones

Name: Marco Jones
Position: DE
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
School: Boys' Latin
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 245

ESPN: 77; three stars; #60 DE
Rivals: 5.5; three stars; MD #11
Scout: three stars; #41 DE

Other offers: UConn, Duke, East Carolina, Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers, Stanford, West Virginia

How committed to local recruiting is Mike London? Until this month's surprise commitment from Pittsburgh-area lineman Tim Cwalina, Marco Jones was the recruit that London had gone furthest afield to secure a commitment from; Jones comes to us from the distant outpost of Baltimore. (Two other recruits in the class, Adrian Gamble and Matt Bailey, committed to Al Groh.)

London apparently doesn't screw around much, either. Near the end of UVA's junior day on June 6th, London flat-out asked the assembled recruits who was ready to commit. Jones did, and a few minutes later, so did Vincent Croce, setting off the second wave of verbals to UVA.

At 245, maybe 250 pounds, Jones is probably the most field-ready of our many DE commits, the rest of whom check in at under 230. He's also one of the best-scouted. Jones went to a lot of camps, and for once, all three services are pretty much in agreeance with each other: they see a solid, well-built player who doesn't make your eyes go pop but has legitimate high-level talent. The colleges agree: Jones had a quality list of programs to choose from, including and especially Penn State.

So what's in it for us? A lot. UVA gets a known quantity at defensive end and a good one. He's not going to drop back to linebacker, not at that size and with his coach thinking he can reach 270 in a college weight program. Probably not destined for tackle, either, even with the glut of DEs coming into the program. Jones' highlights include a lot of plays where he separates from his blocker and tracks down a ballcarrier that gets too close; his ESPN evaluation backs that up by saying, "Flashes good speed and a solid closing burst to the ball." And there's a reason Jones is more field-ready and bigger than our other DE commits: he's a year older. He transferred schools after his sophomore year, sat out a year and repeated 10th grade, then played a year at Boys' Latin last year and will play his senior season this year.

Given that, you'd think he might be a good candidate for some freshman year PT, but DE is stacked. It still remains to be seen who might yet move inside (Justin Renfrow, maybe), since DT is like mega-thin, but even so DE won't be hurting for personnel unless the guys currently there flub out miserably. So Jones will probably redshirt. I don't think he's likely to turn into a holy pass-rushing terror, but physically he's ahead of the curve in his class and should be a very familiar presence on the field within a couple years. In short, the kind of the talent London needs to routinely be able to bring to UVA if we're going to have a good football team.

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