BRADENTON, Fla. — Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star linebacker Mikel Jones is one of Clemson’s top targets at his position in the class of 2019.
Jones received one of his earliest offers from Clemson in May 2016, and in April, he made his first visit to Clemson for the annual Orange & White spring game with his mother, sister, grandparents, aunt and two of his coaches.
“It was a magical visit,” Jones said in an exclusive interview with TCI on Thursday during our first stop on our Tour of Champions at IMG Academy. “It was nice. I expected it a lot, but I was still mind-blown after I came back.
“My whole family liked the visit and everything. Something way different than some of the other colleges I went to.”
One person who made a profound impression on Jones was Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
“I like his spirit,” Jones said. “Like my mom said, he had a nice spirit. He came up to us all excited. Seems like he knows a lot about linebackers, too. I feel like I can learn a lot from him on and off the field.”
Jones (6-2, 205) also has offers from Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia among others.
Along with Clemson, a few schools are standing out to Jones at this stage of his recruiting process.
“I like Louisville a lot, Georgia, West Virginia,” he said. “Those schools are up there. I try to stay in contact with their coaches and everything. They’re pretty nice schools I’m looking at too.”
Jones is looking to commit next year before his senior season and has a timeframe for when he will do so.
“I’m actually cutting it a little short,” he said. “I might be making my decision probably this spring coming up, or probably a little bit before that.”
Jones transferred to IMG Academy after spending the first two years of his high school career at Hialeah (Fla.) Mater Academy.
He arrived on campus at IMG last Wednesday and is getting acclimated to his new school.
“I’m enjoying it, getting everything slowly but surely,” Jones said. “Time management is big. I’m learning to manage my time. It’s hard getting from class to the dorms to meetings and everything, but other than that, I’m getting adjusted pretty well. I’ve been here since last Wednesday, so everything’s going pretty smooth. I’m learning the plays and everything.”
Jones is sure to hear a lot about Clemson moving forward, with two of his teammates being 2018 Clemson commits Mike Jones and Xavier Thomas.
The three prospects have had a chance to get to know each other a little bit so far, and the future Tigers have made a good impression on the newcomer.
“They’re beasts,” Jones said. “They’re nice. Real nice.”
Jones is excited to suit up with them this season, something that could happen in the future at Clemson as well.
“Xavier, he’s powerful off the end, and Mike, I feel like we play almost alike, so us on the field, it’s going to be dangerous,” Jones said. “You’ll see later on the season.”
Jones is ranked as a top-300 prospect in the 2019 class regardless of position by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports.
247 ranks him as the No. 15 linebacker and No. 196 overall prospect.
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