T.J. Jones – Wide Receiver
Jones is a fourth-year senior and has been a starter since midway through his freshman year. Jones is a player who has shown improvement every year and has become Notre Dame’s most consistent receiver this year. Going into this week’s Bowl game, Jones has 65 catches for 1042 yards and nine TDs. For his career, he has 176 catches and 19 TDs. He is the primary punt returner, averaging just under nine yards per return.
Jones doesn’t have great size. He will measure about 5114 – 195. He is athletic with deceptive speed. While not a burner, he will time in the 4.48 – 4.50 area. He has quick feet, a burst, and good overall body control allowing him to run good routes and make quick cuts to get separation. I like that he has become a much more consistent player this year. He is productive as both a short and deep receiver and has shown the toughness to compete for the ball in traffic. He has good hands and shows the body flexibility to adjust to poorly thrown balls. After the catch, he is a quick, elusive runner who can consistently get extra yards.
Overall, I see Jones as good “B” level prospect (third – fourth round). Early in his career, I questioned his toughness, but he has matured as a player and become very consistent. Jones will probably end up as a good slot receiver in the NFL. He can play outside, but with his size, he is not ideal for that position. He will need a year to develop but should become an eventual starter. He has the toughness to play on special teams cover units while he is developing. I don’t see him as having the return skills to be a club’s top returner, but he can be a quality backup in that position.
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