Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers have found their man in Mike Jones Jr.
“We are excited about Mike,” Orgeron said on local ESPN radio 104.5 in Baton Rogue. “His daddy played in the NFL. We are able to talk (about him). The paperwork is in.”
The former Clemson linebacker spent the 2020 season as the starter at the ever-important SAM spot in Brent Venables defense, taking over for Isaiah Simmons, a first round pick of the Cardinals in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After suffering an injury about the midway point of last season, Jones’ snap totals started to decrease when he was able to make it back to the field. Trenton Simpson was the benefactor of those snaps, and some of the speculation has been that the writing was on the wall as for what might transpire next season.
However, regardless of the reason, Jones officially announced he planned to transfer last week. Just days later, he had already decided on a destination and announced he was heading to LSU.
While no reason was ever given officially, the decrease in snaps very likely could have been at least one of the factors. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron made an appearance on local radio show Off the Bench recently and said that another reason was Jones’ desire to play inside, something he wasn’t doing at Clemson, as well as prove he could play every down.
“We are going to give him a chance to compete to start,” Orgeron said. “He was playing mostly nickel linebacker. He wanted to come to the SEC and play inside. He is going to play one of the inside linebackers for us, given a shot to play. He is a great player, adds a lot of depth to our room.”
LSU was in need of a linebacker before the start of spring practice and once Jones decided to enter the portal, Orgeron knew he was the perfect fit for what LSU wants to do on defense. Having two years of eligibility left was also a plus according to the LSU head coach.
“We looked at three big-time linebackers and the one that fit us the best was Mike,” Orgeron said. “We are excited about him. He made a lot of plays at Clemson, comes from a great school, a championship winner. He is going to come here, have two years of eligibility.”