It appears that Christian Jones, Florida State's most talented linebacker, will return to Florida State for his senior year. Multiple outlets have this now, but I'll give credit where it is due:
My boy Willie Jones just told me his Lil brother Christian Jones is coming back to FSU for another year! YEEEEEEE!!! #NOLEBLOODED— BEAN™ 2RANGZ (@KINGBEAN14) January 13, 2013
Jones' father (Willie Sr.) and brother (Willie Jr.) both played for the Seminoles.
As a junior, Jones led the Seminoles in tackles with 95 (48 solo). He also recorded seven tackles-for-loss. Jones did not have a sack or an interception.
His junior season, while good, was a bit of a disappointment relative to the high expectations resulting from his size, athleticism and impressive sophomore campaign.
Jones moved from the Sam to the WILL linebacker position for 2012, and the transition did not go as well as FSU had hoped. Part of that could be related to the sub-par linebacker coaching by the now departed Greg Hudson, and part of it could be that the Will did not fit Jones' skill-set all that well.
Jimbo Fisher described Jones on his weekly TV show as (paraphrasing) "maybe the best coverage linebacker I've ever had." Those skills were on display at Sam, but less so at Will. At Will, Jones was asked to read keys and attack the ballcarrier. While possessing excellent speed, he seemed to lack the instincts and/or ability to quickly diagnose plays.
It will be very interesting to see what Charles Kelly, the new linebackers coach for Florida State, will do with Jones. I suspect Jones will be asked to blitz more (out of 3-4 packages during pass downs) in the new defense, and perhaps resume more of his role at his old Sam position.
Speaking of Kelly, I spoke with someone who knows him over the weekend. They described him as an outstanding man, passionate, and both demanding of and genuinely caring for his players. Glowing stuff.