Clemson linebacker commit Mike Jones would have loved to attend Clemson’s national championship victory over Alabama on Monday in Tampa, Fla., but he decided to stay at home in Bradenton and watch the game with his teammates at IMG Academy.
Regardless of the viewing spot, anywhere was a great place to be for Clemson fans and those associated with the program when the Tigers won their first national title since 1981.
“It was a great game,” Jones told TCI. “It was a little rough early but we pulled it out and made history.”
After becoming Clemson’s first commitment in the 2018 class last June, Jones saw Clemson add a pair of ‘18 pledges in December from Cartersville (Ga.) five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, and Central (S.C.) Daniel four-star linebacker Jake Venables, the son of defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
Aided by the national championship trophy it recently brought back to Clemson, Clemson’s program is poised to continue recruiting at an elite level for the foreseeable future.
Clemson is firmly in the mix for several top 2018 prospects including Florence (S.C.) five-star defensive end Xavier Thomas and Laurinburg (N.C.) five-star running back Zamir White.
Thomas, who has narrowed his recruitment down to rivals Clemson and South Carolina, plans to weigh his options and decide at some point next year.
As a senior next season, Thomas will join Jones at IMG Academy after transferring from Wilson High School. Jones hopes to be teammates with Thomas at the next level, too, and is doing his best to help make that happen.
“As a close friend it’d be great to play with him again,” Jones said. “Also I’m trying to save him from four years torment from when we play South Carolina.”
The direction of Clemson’s program is unquestionably on an upward trajectory, and Jones is stoked to enroll at the school after next season and do his part to help the Tigers keep climbing.
“I’m so excited,” Jones said. “The chance to come in with that type of momentum really gets me hype.”
Up next for Jones is a visit to Clemson at the end of January for the school’s elite Junior Day.
Jones looks forward to discussing his future at Clemson with Brent Venables.
“I want to have a good talk with coach V about what I need to work on,” he said, “and what roles I need to start training myself to fit the team when I enroll next year.”
Last week, Jones announced that he has committed to play in the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game, an annual all-star event for the nation’s top senior recruits.
“I’m so excited. I can’t wait to play in the event,” Jones said. “Plus I will be with my guys one last game.”
The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder is a top-150 prospect in the 2018 class.