Chicago’s Jamarco Jones from De La Salle High School is the latest offensive lineman to be evaluated in the film room. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder has been offered by Notre Dame as well as six other schools including Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
A big body with a skill set that needs some work, he doesn’t jump off the screen at you and, quite honestly, I’m surprised he’s garnered as many big-time offers as he has up to this point. Obviously these schools are looking at his potential as someone who can contribute down the road.
Jones is a thick kid with plenty of meat on his bones. Already almost 300 pounds, he certainly has the frame to add another 20 to 30 pounds without a problem. My issue with him gaining that much weight is whether he would be able to maintain what quickness and speed he has, something that I feel he needs to work on in the future. My thought is for him to hover around 300 pounds, improve his quickness and strength, and become more athletic and versatile than he is currently.
For a kid his size he has decent feet, but not anything that you’d look at and think he could play anything else but tackle. He doesn’t explode out of his stance the way you’d think a kid whose been offered by Ohio State and Michigan should, not to say he doesn’t have moments where he’s explosive, but there’s not a “wow” factor at the snap.
SKILLS AND TECHNIQUE
For starters he plays way too high, and he gets away with it because of the competition he’s playing against. There are times when he’s practically standing straight up, but because of his size he can muscle the smaller defender wherever he wants to go. He tries blocking like that in college against a good defensive tackle or linebacker and he’ll end up on his back, but he has time for his high school coaches to recognize this flaw and fix it before he graduates.
His first step is slow out of his stance and that, in turn, affects his second step, which he sometimes forgets to bring with him, resulting in a lean block rather than a base block. Again, he gets away with this because he’s a man among boys, but there’s too much leaning going on instead of getting his butt down and rooting people off the ball.
He does do a pretty good job of pulling, turning up through the hole, and finding someone to block. That being said, he doesn’t get his pad level down at contact, resulting in some sloppy blocks and some missed opportunities at kill shots.
I mentioned this already but I’m always hoping for a more explosive player at the snap. There’s too much “feeling for the door” rather than knocking the door of its hinges. He does, however, do a decent job of adjusting his feet and path when the defender shoots a gap or goes outside of him.
I believe that once he gets his hands on the defender it’s over and there isn’t a chance of the defender getting away. He also drives his feet well enough to the point that you can tell he’s giving effort and wants to succeed. He just needs some work to get his raw talent molded into a more technique savvy football player.
His pass sets, though not many on film, would be more effective if he was quicker into the set and more active with his feet, although when he needs to move to the defender there ‘s a definite sense of urgency.
By no means do I think the Chicago native is lazy and I hope my evaluation of him isn’t coming across that way. I just believe that in order for him to be successful on the next level he has to start relying on and developing his football skills, rather than always thinking he’ll beat the guy across from him because he’s bigger. That mindset may work in high school but as I’ve said before, he’ll be hard-pressed to be successful on the college level without honing his technique first.
I’m not sure if he fits into Notre Dame’s system of aggressive and attacking linemen who are athletic and can do multiple things. I’m not sure if he was offered based upon potential or because Ohio State and Michigan already offered him and it seemed like the right thing to do. Listen, I’m not pretending to know more than the Irish coaching staff, but for me the jury is out on this kid and his ability to be a star at the next level.
Size: 85 (Has good size but further weight gain may hurt athleticism)
Strength: 75 (His strength doesn’t really get tested vs. current competition)
Speed: 75 (Not particularly fast or slow for his size)
Athletic Skills: 75 (Fairly athletic for a big man but not jaw-dropping)
Technique: 70 (His path to improvement starts here)
Versatility: 70 (Doesn’t show quickness needed to play guard or center)
Upside: 3.0 (Needs to develop skills the next two years)
Overall Grade: 3.0
90-100 – Elite/Exceptional: Skill set is rare and gives prospect ability to dominate
80-89 – Very Good/Outstanding: Skill set is a significant strength
70-79 – Average: Skill set is solid, not a significant weakness
60-69 – Below Average: Skill set is not a strength for this player and could become a liability
50-59 – Very Poor: Prospect does not possess this trait and it is a definite liability
OVERALL/UPSIDE GRADE KEY
5 – Elite: Player is one of the best players at his position nationally, potentially dominant
4 – Very Good/Outstanding: Player is a potential standout and starter, could also play early
3 – Solid: Player is a potential contributor, could eventually start down the road
2 – Below Average: Player does not possess the talent to be a significant contributor
1 – Poor: Let’s be honest, Notre Dame is not going to bring in anyone with a one!!