One of the most talented linebackers in the 2019 class, Hialeah (Fla.) Mater Academy’s Mikel Jones, made his first visit to Clemson over the weekend for the Orange & White spring game, arriving Friday morning and departing Saturday evening.
It was a trip that Jones, who was first offered by Clemson last May, had long wanted to take.
It was well worth the wait.
“It was definitely one of the best visits I’ve been on so far,” Jones told The Clemson Insider. “I finally got to meet coach (Brent) Venables and coach (Dabo) Swinney in person. The campus was really nice and everyone I met on campus was nice.
“They have a lot of great things going on at Clemson.”
Jones’ mother, sister, grandparents, aunt and two of his coaches accompanied him to Clemson.
Touring the new facility was one of his favorite parts of the experience.
“Definitely the new facility with the games, the basketball court and the huge weight room,” he said.
Jones was also struck positively by the sincerity of Swinney and Venables.
“They’re two genuinely nice guys,” he said. “(Venables) spoke to my family and I for about 20 minutes and explained the culture of the place. I definitely want to keep a good relationship with him throughout my recruitment.”
Venables let Jones know that Clemson would be a good fit for him and that he has had his eye on him since the beginning of his high school career.
“He was telling me that Clemson is very specific about the people they offer and they don’t usually have a big recruiting class every year because they recruit to replace,” Jones said. “Also he likes that I am a good kid who knows what it takes to be successful, and he could tell that I could fit this program since my freshman year.”
With the impression it made on Jones during the visit, Clemson improved its already strong standing with him.
“Clemson still stands as one of my top schools,” he said, “and with the visit it probably passed some other schools on my list.”
His list of other offers includes Georgia, Iowa State, Louisville, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple, Utah and West Virginia.
The Tigers and Bulldogs are considered the frontrunners right now. He said the two schools along with LSU and South Carolina are recruiting him the hardest right now.
What does he like the most about Clemson?
“The family atmosphere to the entire football staff to the academic advisors presented to me and my family,” Jones said. “I love how coach Venables was so welcoming to my family, and my mom loved everything coach Dabo stands for.”
Jones, the nation’s No. 7 outside linebacker and a top-100 prospect according to 247Sports, also visited LSU in March and Georgia in February.
He plans to see Florida, Louisville, South Carolina and West Virginia soon and get back to South Florida and Florida Atlantic during the summer.