Winter Park (FL) Lake Howell Linebacker Christian Jones Signs with Florida State Seminoles

That's Jones (#7) on the right. He is talking with current FSU commitment Lamarcus Joyner.

Christian Jones is considered by many the top linebacker in Florida.  He is a Florida State legacy, with his father, Willie Jones Sr., and his brother, DE Willie Jones Jr.  This is not an unexpected commitment.

Christian might have the most impressive offer sheet in the nation.  Florida, LSU, Miami, Alabama, USC (LB coach Ken Norton called him the best LB he has seen this cycle), Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Tennessee, and Clemson have all offered.

He joins one of the best defensive classes in the nation.  You know that Joyner, Luc, and Shaw were working on him to join the FSU class at the UA game.

VITALS:

Hometown: Winter Park, FL (Lake Howell High)
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 228 lbs.
40-yd dash: 4.5
ESPN Rating: 83, #27 overall
Rivals.com Rating: 5*, 6.1, LB #2, #20 overall
Scout.com Rating:  4*, #5 OLB
Grades:  Not a qualifying concern

 

Continue reading for more. Video, Scouting Reports, etc.

Recruitment:

Many expected Jones to commit to FSU in the spring.  He made many visits to FSU's campus, including the Seminole Showtime camp.  Jones concerned some when he made visits to Tennessee, Alabama, and Notre Dame, and Florida.  Especially Florida.  Many FSU sites were in full meltdown mode (thankfully, not this one) when it was rumored that Jones was in Gainesville two weekends in a row in January.  He did make an unofficial visit to FSU on the last weekend in January.

Evaluation:

Jones can do it all at the linebacker position.  As impressive physical speciman, he's fast, fluid, and very athletic for his size, with much more room for growth. A versatile player, Jones could play any linebacker position for FSU.  Jones has great lateral movement (sideline to sideline).   He is everything you want from a LB in this day and age.  Jones has also shown the ability to blow up the ballcarrier.  He has explosiveness (closing speed), and this is a kid that's just going to improve with coaching and proper weight training.  Jones has played DE a little for his high school, and he's excellent at rushing the passer.

Video:

Linebackers are not supposed to do this (0:38):


Some believe he should move to DE in college, thankfully FSU does not.  Jones is a prototypical outside LB.  Thankfully, there will be a new defensive staff in place when Jones is a freshman.  Tomahawk Nation believes Jones to be the most important defensive player we recruited this cycle, and I believe he is better than Jeff Luc.

A first hand report from a Miami fan:

I just got in from watching Lake Howell High School here in Central Florida. Tonight, I watched Christian Jones, son of Willie Jones. He's 6'4 1/2" , 220 lbs and he's a senior linebacker who is considering Miami, FSU, USC, LSU, Alabama, and Florida as well as a plethora of other schools. Jones is likely to follow in his father and brothers footsteps and go to FSU from what I understand but he hasn't made a firm decision yet..

On to the game, I ended up taking notes on my cell phone (I know, real nerdy lol) because I was so interested in his game and I tried to catch every play of his. It was really difficult to catch all the plays because of several different angles but I did get some statistics down that I counted. I managed to catch the first seven snaps of his. The first six snaps were on defense and one was on special teams. I, personally, counted six tackles on the first six snaps on defense and then a blocked punt (and recovered) by him on the seventh play. On those first six snaps on defense, he was used at the MLB spot. When I first saw him, my head nearly exploded because of his skillset. His defensive line is poor, they struggle to clog the middle and allow several big plays, as I'll note later. He single-handed took my high school's offense off the field. He showed great pursuit as well as read and react skills. When I say great, I mean off the charts. Outstanding.

Later, about the second quarter, they moved him to play strong side linebacker. My high school put an extra tight end to block on that side and he blew up the play by dipping his shoulder and beating the blocks with a quick first step. Then they used a tight end, the original blocker and a half back in to block. He beat tight end with a quick first step, the half back tried to chip him so he ran through that block and ended up applying pressure on the quarterback. He didn't get a sack but he knocked the quarterback on his ass.

In the third quarter, they moved him to weak side linebacker so he played against my schools most athletic offensive lineman, the left tackle. Not much changed. He blew by the LOT with a quick first step and forced the quarterback out of the pocket on more than one occasion. Since he was disrupting the pocket with pass rushing prowess, my school decided to start running the ball but away from Jones on just about every play. They did so successfully, as they ran the ball some up the gut which led to huge gains due to the lack of talent and overall poor play by the defensive line. Jones couldn't do anything about it because we were double teaming him and at some points, as noted earlier, they triple teamed him. We ended up kicking three field goals and we ran the ball well, all because Christian Jones wasn't manning the MIKE spot. I don't know what the coach was thinking, possibly wanted to apply pressure and felt that his interior defensive line could do the job but that clearly wasn't the case. He paid for it by giving the Rams (my and Keith Rivers former high school) successful drives up the middle.

It was 9-0 in the middle of the third quarter when the Lake Howell coach decided that he needed a spark on offense and he put Christian Jones in at quarterback. Now Jones doesn't have much passing skills but that's not needed much because they run a option offense, exactly like Georgia Tech from what I noticed. Jones took direct snaps, did no pitching, and took it upon himself to try to get his team back in the game. He ended up driving about 60 yards down field and taking a direct snap to the left sideline and scoring, to make it 9-6 but the play was called back because of holding. I left after they punted and it ended up being 24-0 when I was leaving.

I was very impressed with Jones, clearly, as you can see with my post above. He's 6'4 1/2, 220 and runs in the 4.6 - 4.7 range. He played strong safety last year and played it very well. Now he was moved to the MIKE spot as well as the outside linebacker spots and he did well there. He impressed as a tailback but I don't see that in his future. I see it at linebacker, any of the three spots, and I think he'll do well. Further, as I stated earlier, I took notes in my phone and some of the stuff I wrote above was included in those notes. The rest of my notes read the following:

"25 snaps seen, 7 tackles, blocked punt and recovery, fluid hips, great pursuit, always around the ball, lined up at all LB spots, collapsed pocket consistently, came close to blocking a FG which he missed by so little, and a quick first step."

Note that out of the twenty-five snaps, he was around the ball on roughly 20-23 of those snaps. I just didn't credit him with the tackle because it wasn't solo. The seven ones recorded are all solos. One could say he assisted on about 12 other snaps, so total, about 19 tackles in 25 snaps.

Last, there is very little bad things to say about Jones IMO. From everything that I know, he's a very classy guy, everybody loves him and his character because he does not have an ego and he's an extremely hard worker. To put that in perspective, he also plays basketball. Before football practices, he comes in the open gym to work on his jumpshot for an hour or two and then right after that, he goes straight to football practice. On the football field, in terms of evaluating him, the only flaws that I noticed were that he will sometimes over-pursue and that he's a raw pass rusher but that's not his natural position. He's a MIKE linebacker IMO. Also, I want to note that tonight, he played with a cast on his right hand. It was a rather large cast, went from the midpoint of the forearm to the the knuckles. He re-injured his hand about two minutes into the fourth quarter and left the field.

Under Armour Game (from our own SWFLNole):

My first thought when I saw Christian Jones up close was "wow that kid is huge", for a LB he is just incredibly impressive physically. There were two players on the White (Blur) team that everyone looked at and thought were ready to step onto a college field and play tomorrow. Christian Jones and Da'Rick Rogers. In agility drills he showed that he is capable of moving his great frame. I believe more than ever that he can play OLB and play it well after watching him go through drills.

However, Christian really shined in 7on 7s and the team portion of the practices. 5* RB Michael Dyer is a freight train going through the hole, however on one particular play CJ met him about 2 yeards off the line of scrimmage and quickly took him to the ground with a big hit. not 30 minutes earlier he was out in space playing the pass and was able to read the ball off the QBs hands and make a near interception. He was impressive all day. I expect that if he is able to perform like this the next two days he will have no problem moving into the 5* status on everyones board.

- CJ stated that he is 6'4'' 228 lbs the last time that he weighed. 

 

Comparison:

Julian Peterson, formerly of Michigan State and now with the Seattle Seahawks.  Or Rolando McClain.  Jones could end up at 6'4'' 260 and still retain his outstanding range. McClain is a likely high first round draft pick.  Jones has that potential if he works hard and receives quality coaching.

 


Who will join Jones in the LB class? 

LB: Telvin Smith
LB: Jeff Luc
LB: Nigel Terrell
LB: Holmes Onwukaife

And probably Darrin Kitchens. 

Pretty good group.  I think Jones has the highest ceiling out of the players here. 

The TomahawkNation.com recruiting map has been updated to reflect the commitment.

Make sure to check the TomahawkNation.com Recruiting Board to stay current with all the 'Nole's current targets!

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