If you have ever watched Mikel Jones play, it is not hard to notice he has a nose for the football. Jones displays the ability of a magnet, attracting plays to him. Last season, Jones was an All-ACC Honorable Mention in which he led the team with 69 tackles and had 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and four interceptions. With a stat line like that, it is hard to justify why he was only an honorable mention last year. To open the season, the linebacker recorded 10 tackles and 1 tackle for loss against Ohio. The 10 stops led the team but also set the tone for how the defense aspires to play this season.
“On the defensive end, we coming the same way we came last year. Everybody is flying to the ball with aggressive intentions,” Jones said.
The last time Jones played in front of fans in the Dome he was not a starter. Although he did not start during the 2019 campaign, his impact was meaningful, as he tabbed 38 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Jones is excited to have the atmosphere of the Dome back for such an important game like Rutgers. His approach into this game is a tactical one because with Rutgers there is a lot to expect.
“Being prepared for everything, they do a lot of everything,” Jones said. “They put up a lot of points, they’re nice, we’ll give it to them, so we’re coming prepared.”
The Miami native credits growing up in a football state like Florida to his influence in the game. His early start in playing football led him to taking the sport way more serious than others, Jones said. The linebacker honed in on becoming bigger, faster, and stronger throughout the offseason. As well as becoming knowledgeable of his playbook, Jones believes knowing his playbook inside and out will not only help him but helps the team.
The Orange face off against Rutgers this Saturday at 2p.m. The matchup makes the first time these two teams have played against each other since 2012. With both teams 1-0, the rivalry will make for a matchup long awaited for. The high powered Rutgers offense defeated Temple, 61-14. With good field position due to their variety of skilled positions either catching interceptions or explosive kick returns led to such a disparity in points amongst teams. However, the Orange defense will primarily focus on containing the skill positions of Rutgers. Mikel Jones impact on this game will be necessary for the Orange to overcome a rivaled opponent so early in the season.