25 most important Clemson Tigers of 2020: No. 9

25 most important Clemson Tigers of 2020: No. 9

Football

25 most important Clemson Tigers of 2020: No. 9

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How do you rank the 25 most important players on a squad’s roster?

It is not easy. However, I rank them based on their past performance, experience and who is behind them on the depth chart, as well as their level of talent.

Here is my ranking of the 25 most important players on Clemson’s 2020 football roster. Here is No. 9 on the list.

No. 9: Mike Jones, Jr.

Class: Redshirt sophomore

Position: Strongside Linebacker

Height: 6-0

Weight: 225

Bio: In his two plus years at Clemson, including a redshirt season in 2019, Jones has 22 career tackles, a forced fumble and pass broken up. He played in three games in 2018 before being redshirted.

Why No. 9: Jones has worked hard to get in this position. A reserve last year, Jones will take over for Isaiah Simmons on the strong side of the defense. Jones redshirted in 2018 and last year backed up Clemson’s All-American linebacker. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has worked with him a lot to get him ready for this moment. Jones is fast and athletic. He has bulked up the last two years so he can fit up in the run fits and be disruptive in the passing game. He isn’t an Isaiah Simmons, but who is? He has the body type and the skill set of a Dorian O’Daniel, and now in his third year in the system, Jones is ready to take charge and become the playmaker on defense the Tigers think he can be.

They said it: “It’s not really too often, especially linebackers, who just jump into it and then you’re great. It takes years of hard work and patience and just grinding and straining yourself. When you go through every day, when it gets tough, you look at those guys and be like, ‘They did it too. It’s okay. Keep working and it’s all going to work out.’” –Mike Jones, Jr.

25 most important Clemson Tigers of 2020:

No. 25: D.J. Uiagalelei

No. 24: Bryan Bresee

No. 23: Will Putnam

No. 22 Lannden Zanders

No. 21 Mario Goodrich

No. 20 Jordan McFadden

No. 19 Jordan Williams

No. 18 Cornell Powell

No. 17 Nyles Pinckney

No. 16 Tyler Davis

No. 15 Frank Ladson

No. 14 Joseph Ngata

No. 13 Justin Foster

No. 12 Xavier Thomas

No. 11 Cade Stewart

No. 10 James Skalski

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