Keandre Jones joins three-star running back Lorenzo Harrison of DeMatha as the two lone recruits committed to Maryland in 2016. Maryland pulled an upset late Monday night, earning a commitment from Jones even though he had previously listed Penn State as his number one school.
The four-star linebacker is a highly coveted recruit from Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) and could potentially open up floodgates and urge his teammates to join the stay home movement. If you haven't heard of Good Counsel by now, then you probably haven't followed Maryland recruiting too closely. Stefon Diggs, Wes Brown and Jesse Aniebonam all reign from the private high school in Olney, Md.
Jones created quite the stir after he committed to Maryland, blowing up Twitter for fellow Class of 2016 recruits, who all hinted one way or another at playing for their local Terps. Those players include four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins, four-star offensive lineman Terrance Davis, four-star wide receiver Trevon Diggs (Diggs 2.0) and offensive lineman Damola Orimolade.
Aside from what Jones means to the future recruits that he could potentially attract, he brings incredible talent. Maryland will be in great need at the linebacker position once he can hit the field in 2016, with Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree graduated as well as Abner Logan. The 6'3'', 198 pound run-stopper can clog the lane as well as anyone can in the WCAC which features prominent playmakers on teams like DeMatha and Gonzaga.
It's time to take a look at the linebacker's film courtesy of Hudl:
The recruit: Keandre Jones
The high school: Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney, Md.
Position: Outside linebacker
247sport composite: Jones is listed as the 246th best player in the nation, 19th best outside linebacker in the Class of 2016 and the 11th best prospect coming out of Maryland.
Measurables: Jones is of a solid stature, weighing 198 pounds to his 6'3'' frame. I'd imagine Edsall will have him bulk up a little bit before throwing him into action but he is lean and quick off the line as exhibited in his film. According to 247sports, he runs 4.70 40-yard dash, compared to Maryland's current linebacking core of L.A. Goree (4.76) and Cole Farrand (4.86), his time is solid.
Junior season: He told the Baltimore Sun that he finished the season with around 12 sacks and three or four forced fumbles. He also led Good Counsel to an impressive 10-2 mark before falling to DeMatha on his soon-to-be home field at Maryland.
Offers: Jones held offers from West Virginia, Penn State, Virginia, Iowa, among others and received interest from LSU and Florida
On film: Woah. This kid can flat out play. He has an insane knack for where the ball is going to be, never quits on plays, never misses an open field tackle and is one of the most instinctive high school players I've ever seen. This highlight film really displays his talent well and shows why so many high D1 teams were after the 4-star recruit.
The thing that stuck out the most when dissecting the film was his instinct. Quarterbacks and running backs tremble when they see number six trotting their way, because they just know he's not going to let them squeeze by. The quarterback option, a somewhat foolproof play, didn't work a single time (again, film only shows his good plays) against the young outside linebacker. He just seemed to know what the quarterback was thinking and react to that exactly. Look at 8:18 for a perfect example of reading the read-option flawlessly.
Jones is a workhorse who played both special teams and defense for the Falcons. As sappy as it sounds, one of the things that stood out most to be about his play, was his heart and determination. In the few circumstances where he was plugged by an offensive lineman or took an errant route to the ball, he didn't quit or mope but actually went harder than before to make up for his mistake. Look no further than just the 0:40 mark to see him misjudge the runner, get blocked and then makeup 15 yards in no time to strip the ball carrier.
The sole concern I have while watching the film is his ability to drop back and cover. I have little qualms that he's capable of doing this but the film really only showed his blitzing ability and didn't emphasize pass coverage except in a few plays. On quick drop backs and screens, he knew exactly where to be to deliver the sharpest blow or disrupt the pass, but I wish the sample size was just a bit bigger. His natural position seems to be a Ryan Kerrigan-esque outside linebacker/defensive lineman if he can put on a little bit of weight.
Jones is a fantastic athlete who has competed on a high level for a good team in a tough conference for two years now. His quickness on the edge is just a sneak peak for how good he truly could be in a Maryland uniform. He possesses great awareness on the field and seems to be a natural leader. He knows how to wrap up runners in the open field and drag them to the ground and his hands are constantly active and looking for the strip. In short, Jones is an exciting commit and Maryland should welcome him with great happiness.