ERNEST JONES | South Carolina | IB | #53 | Sr | 6010 | 230 | Waycross, GA | Ware County | 11.22.99
The heart and soul of the South Carolina defense and perhaps most underappreciated player from a media perspective, linebacker Ernest Jones has a knack for always being around the football. Ultra-productive for the Gamecocks, Jones has accounted for 183 total tackles in only 21 games over the last two seasons. Jones has outstanding eyes out of his trigger, quickly sorting and working through trash. He is a slippery player who has the ability to work through gaps effectively, leading to some backfield production. His spatial awareness is notable both as a run and pass defender, having a keen understanding of what is developing in front of him. Athletically, he is a smooth enough mover to work laterally and in the passing game. Aside from the smoothness, there is nothing physically that stands out about Jones. He has middling size that lacks a true power profile to stack and shed at the point of attack. Jones can get blown out of gaps on film, with little ability to work off of blocks in the run game. He is smooth hipped and flexible but is very ordinary linearly. His straight line explosiveness leaves a little to be desired, lacking traits to make a ton of plays in pursuit. Jones football IQ and feel for the game could provide him a steady role in a defense, coupling with his potential impact as a core special teamer. While nothing may jump out physically, Jones offers a consistency that should allow him to contend for a roster spot on a yearly basis.
Raised in Georgia north of Jacksonville, Florida. Three-star recruit according to 247Sports. Public Health major. Played in 5 games while recovering from injury as a freshman. Started all 12 games as a sophomore. Started nine games as a junior. Declared early for the 2021 NFL Draft. Dealt with a back fracture (2018). Known for his excellent leadership qualities and communications.
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