Film Study: How Does 2021 Defensive End Commit Saivion Jones Project to Fit Into LSU Front Line?

Brian Smith

LSU scored a major recruiting victory with Saivion Jones, one of the best players Louisiana will offer for the class of 2021.

It’s easy to like Jones and his upside. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end plays fast and physical. The Saint James (La.) High School prospect often plays more like a defensive tackle -- because he loves power moves -- than a defensive end. Yet, Jones moves like a weak side defensive end.

That’s a good thing.

There are two items to note about Jones. First, he’s extremely powerful. He provides ‘knock back’ power like one would usually see from a 280-pound three technique/defensive tackle. More specifically, he provides “violent hands,” as the saying goes around the world of football.

When Jones strikes an opposing player, they know it. Second, he’s still a player with a frame that could easily fill out to 270, perhaps 280-pounds. With his athleticism, there’s really no question that he can play multiple positions.

Once at LSU, it would not be surprising if Jones eventually played weak side defensive end, strong side defensive end and three technique/defensive tackle. With this young man’s athletic gifts, combined with his relentless style of play (see below), he’s going to be hard enough to prepare for if he lines up at one position. If Jones learns the techniques and subtleties of multiple positions, one day he could be an All-SEC performer.

On to the film. Jones proved to be a lot of fun to watch, and picking just four plays did not come easy.

Any defensive line coach would stand up and cheer after watching this first snap. Without getting too technical (this could be three paragraphs in a heartbeat), Jones set the edge by attacking the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle, kept both hands working in an effort to gain further outside leverage and finally disengaged the offensive tackle by passing to the outside and chasing down the runner. This is classic defensive end play because Jones out worked his opponent.

Playing the run once again, he stays parallel to the line of scrimmage, reads the running back, hedges to the inside and attacks the ball carrier. Jones took a risk by going underneath the offensive linemen, but he beat them to the spot. That’s one of those you better make the play if you do it moves, but Jones’ athleticism and toughness to defeat the block made the play happen.

During this next play, Jones aggressively attacked the offensive tackle, knocked him back, then suddenly changed direction and went for the quarterback, who began to escape to the perimeter. Here’s what’s interesting about the play. 

Jones did not even fully extend his long arms to truly push off the offensive tackle and gain leverage to the outside. Still, Jones closed on the quarterback in a hurry.

These types of moments displayed just how much upside Jones possesses. Once he fully understands how and when to utilize the ‘stab move’ and other common moves like ‘rip’ or ‘chop’ to go along with his bull rush, it will be a tough assignment when lined up against Jones. He’s only showing flashes of how to use these types of moves now, but he’s mostly dominating high school competition because he’s by far the superior athlete on the field.

This final clip presented one of the obvious moments that Jones utilized a traditional pass-rushing move. He bent towards the outside of the left tackle, used a ‘rip’ move with his inside arm to gain leverage on the offensive tackle, allowing Jones’ physical prowess to do the rest.

This play showed just how hard it can be to defend Jones when he focuses on the task at hand. Good luck to future offensive linemen when lining up with Jones during one-on-one situations. He’s only going to get better.

Here’s a look at the full Hudl highlight for Jones. He’s quite impressive.

Overall, Jones should be considered a major win for the Tigers. LSU coach Ed Orgeron and his staff understand the value of talented defensive linemen, and Jones possesses the physical traits and toughness to be a really good SEC football player. LSU fans should be excited because the Tigers just added another prospect to help the program for the better.  

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