In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Mike Jones Jr. has entered the transfer portal.
Clemson LB Mike Jones is in the portal as a grad transfer, per @AnnaH247 and @Clemson247. He had 46 tackles, 7 TFL and 2 INT in his Tigers career. https://t.co/iEXdP1cmxy— 247Sports Transfer Portal (@247SportsPortal) January 25, 2021
Much love Clemson family has been the absolute best, I wouldn’t trade these last 3 years for the world. https://t.co/FPMvmCGX8W— Mike Jones Jr (@_mjones24) January 25, 2021
Jones Jr. started at the SAM linebacker position for the majority of the 2020, but was slowed by a knee injury midway through the season that forced him to miss games against Boston College and Notre Dame.
His best game of the season was against Virginia Tech. The former 4* recruit out of Tennessee registered 8 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss against the Hokies. He was a bit of a non-factor against Ohio State, but did manage to pull in an end zone interception despite only accounting for 1 tackle.
I don’t know exactly why he’s transferring, but you’ve got to think the late season emergence of former 5* linebacker Trenton Simpson, has something to do with his departure. Simpson is a freak of nature, and looks poised to claim the SAM position in 2021.
While Simpson is more than capable of filling the void left by Jones Jr., if not upgrading the position overall, losing Jones hurts depth. Expect 5* outside linebacker Barrett Carter to push for early playing time to solidify depth at the SAM position. It always hurts to lose a talented, experienced player like Jones Jr, but I don’t think many opposing coaches will be sending Dabo a sympathy fruit basket with Simpson and Carter on the roster.
I have no idea where Jones Jr. will end up, but he will be one of the more sought after players in the portal. Whoever lands his services will get a solid player on the field and an even better leader off the field. Mike has been an exemplary Tiger and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.