Top DT D.J. Jones Eyes The Next Level
by Dan Harralson
Jun 15, 2014 7:29 PM EDT
One of the more important positions on the football field comes from the defensive line.
Being able to have a fierce pass rusher on the edge or even a run stopper in the middle, a productive defensive lineman can be a game-changer for teams.
Sometimes the most prized jewel for teams is the ability to plug in a pass rusher or a run stopper from the JUCO ranks.
D.J. Jones (East Mississippi C.C.), four-star and No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation (247Sports), is a prime example of being a play-maker and being plugged into a future system to produce.
From initial offers from Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, LSU and Newberry straight out of high school — to having offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina and Tennessee across the board.
Jones has become a better player since going the JUCO route, and winning has caused Jones to become better.
"My first year we won a national championship — that's a plus," Jones told me. "Coming here (East Mississippi C.C.) has prepared me. Here you're playing the best of the best and that only prepares you."
Jones' performance on and off the field has shown by the number of offers coming his way now, compared to when he was being recruited out of high school.
"It's crazy," said Jones. "You go from a few offers to 20 plus and all SEC schools wanting you."
All of the top coaches want Jones to be a presence in their defense. Here's what the top defensive tackle had to say about some of the head coaches:
Dabo Swinney - "Coach Swinney is my longest relationship, I've known him the longest."
Butch Jones - "Coach Jones is my second longest relationship, great guy."
Steve Spurrier - "Coach Spurrier, great coach and has won at a lot of places."
Nick Saban - "Coach Saban is one of the best, just all these coaches are great coaches."
Jones also is not limited to the defensive tackle position. The JUCO prospect has played nose guard and is comfortable with the position.
"Yes sir, I can play nose guard," Jones said. "To tell you the truth, I'm not only looking on getting to the next level, but I'm looking to getting to the level after that. So playing defensive tackle or nose guard wouldn't be a bad choice."
There's no doubt D.J. Jones will be successful at the next level. Who knows, he could be the Terrence Cody and/or Jesse Williams type, plugging in the nose guard position for Nick Saban, or being part of the other great programs that are after the JUCO national champion.