Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 45 Jonathan Jones, senior inside linebacker
Listed Measurements: 5-foot-11 ½, 227 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: A senior, Jones has two seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019.Depth chart: A year ago, Jones was the unquestioned backup at Mike linebacker behind Te’von Coney. With Coney gone, Jones has actually fallen further down the depth chart with fifth-year Asmar Bilal and sophomore Shayne Simon both moving inward from Rover and sophomore Bo Bauer putting together a promising spring.Recruiting: The consensus three-star prospect chose Notre Dame over offers from Michigan, Stanford, LSU and Florida, among many others. The Florida native was rated the No. 19 inside linebacker in the class, per rivals.com.
CAREER TO DATE
After preserving a year of eligibility as a freshman in 2016, Jones became the fourth inside linebacker in a three-man rotation in 2017 and then the backup to Coney in 2018, a role that included little playing time.
2017: 13 games, 10 tackles with one for loss and one broken-up pass.2018: 12 games, 6 tackles with one for loss at Wake Forest.
The only time Jones came up in conversation this spring was when Irish head coach Brian Kelly was broadly discussing how in flux the linebackers would be throughout March and April.
“You may see Asmar with (junior) Drew White for six and the next one might be (junior Jordan) Genmark Heath with Jonathan Jones with the first group,” Kelly said the day before spring practice commenced. “It’s going to mix and match for quite a bit until we really get a sense of how this is going to shake out. I would just sit back, get some popcorn, we’re evaluating, they’re competing.”
WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
“There are two paths forward for Jones, both hinted at in the previous section. Either he stays ahead of Bauer and (Jack) Lamb this season, meaning he will be the frontrunner to succeed Coney in the middle of the Notre Dame defense, or at least one of the freshmen will pass Jones this season and relegate him to career backup. In the first scenario, Jones could end up a two-year starter for the Irish.”
When Jones did not find genuine snaps the last two seasons, it could be written off as the result of established veteran workhorses putting in their time. No such obstacle exists this year, but Jones will still likely fall short of much playing time. If Bilal does not find his way in the middle, Notre Dame will turn to Simon or Bauer, if not both, before calling on Jones.
He remains a welcome locker room presence, though, a role that shows through in the social media work Jones readily handles. In a more tangible respect, expect Jones to once again spend time on special teams coverage units.
DOWN THE ROAD
If Jones does not break through in a major way this season, there is little reason to think the Irish will invite him back for a fifth year. The recruiting class of 2020 is already tight on space; bringing back Jones at the expense of another player in the class would be a questionable decision.
How much of a breakthrough might be needed? Jones would probably need to finish November as a part-time starter, at the least.
NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard
No. 60: Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, veteran backup offensive lineman
No. 57: Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle
No. 56: John Dirksen, offensive lineman
No. 56: Howard Cross, incoming freshman defensive lineman, consensus four-star
No. 55: Jarrett Patterson, starting center
No. 55: Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle returning from injury
No. 54: Jacob Lacey, consensus four-star defensive tackle, early enrollee
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, senior defensive end
No. 52: Zeke Correll, consensus four-star center, early enrollee
No. 52: Bo Bauer, linebacker, sophomore
No. 50: J.D. Bertrand, consensus four-star linebacker
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, junior defensive end