Notre Dame picked up a little bit of recruiting momentum as we enter the last week of the off-season on Monday with literally a huge commitment from defensive lineman Jarron Jones. Jones, a massive defensive end prospect, likely caps Notre Dame’s defensive line recruiting to give the Irish a banner year in the defensive trenches again this year.
Jones, a 6’7″, 308 lb prospect, gives Notre Dame a prototypical defensive end for the Irish 3-4 defense much the way Stephon Tuitt did a year and much like Tuitt did this summer, Jones is likely to arrive on campus looking nothing like a college freshman. The New York native is already over 300 pounds and in a traditional defense, Jones would likely move inside to defensive tackle. In a 3-4 alignment though, Jones will line up on the outside of the line and could occasionally move inside on passing downs.
Jones had originally committed to Penn State but withdrew his commitment earlier this summer with Notre Dame quickly becoming his favorite before he made things official on Monday. This marks the second year in a row in which Notre Dame went head to head with Penn State for an elite defensive recruit from New York and came out on top.
As every Notre Dame fan who follows recruiting closely remembers, Bob Diaco pulled off a recruiting visit that will live on in Notre Dame recruiting history to home of Ishaq Williams at 4:30 to secure the outside linebacker’s commitment while his bags were packed for an official visit to Penn State.
While Jones decommitted once already, he told Irish Illustrated that he is done taking visits and will not visit any other college after making his commitment to Notre Dame. The only visit on tap for Jones is a planned official visit to Notre Dame for the USC game – a recruiting weekend that will feature many of the remaining elite prospects on Notre Dame’s recruiting board.
Jones joins nose tackle prospect Sheldon Day and potentially Romeo Okwara who could very well grow into a a defensive end on the college level as the defensive line prospects in this class and with numbers starting to get tight, Notre Dame could very well be done recruiting along the defensive line. If they are, Notre Dame will have added another pair of 4/5-star recruits (Rivals ranks both as 4-stars while Scot ranks both as 5-stars) to go along with last year’s impressive haul of lineman – quite the change for a program that has notoriously struggled to consistently recruit elite linemen over the last 20 years.
While Jones brings in a reputation as one of the nation’s premiere defensive linemen, some analysts, including Tom Lemming, believe that Jones could be an even better offensive tackle on the college level. Lemming told the South Bend Tribune that he felt Jones has “All American potential” as an offensive tackle – a position in which Notre Dame is still in search of help at in this class. With Jones’s massive size and athleticism, it’s easy to see why a move to offense makes sense on paper, but unless the Irish completely strike out at offensive tackle, look for Jones to start his career on the defensive side of the ball.
Notre Dame now has 14 commitments in this year’s class with Jones on board. Nine of the current commitments are on the defensive side of the ball so look for most of the remaining spots available to be filled out on the offensive side of the ball with a major need at running back and offensive tackle.