Hello: Kellen Jones

Submitted by Brian on July 29th, 2010 at 7:06 PM


Houston linebacker Kellen Jones has just committed to Michigan. Tim's taken to writing up Hello posts before the kids even commit—dangerous!—so I'll let him get online to give you the rundown, but in brief: Jones is a 6'2", 230-pound middle linebacker, a four star ranked #195 overall by Scout. ESPN has him as a 79 and Rivals a generic three-star.

Sorry for the delay, I'm out of town for a cousin's wedding. -


Scout Rivals ESPN
4*, #11 MLB, #47 Texas 3*, 5.6, #32 ILB, #80 Texas 3*, 79, #33 OLB

First things first, the measureables: All three sites are in agreement on his height and weight, at 6-1, 210 (ok, Rivals says 209). Rivals and Scout call him a middle linebacker, but ESPN says he's more of an outside guy. Let's see why:

Flashes "shoot the gap", downhill ability vs. the inside run but not the big tough inside linebacker type who consistently stacks at the point.

That's something that can certainly be improved upon, and Scout also lists "size" as one of his areas to improve. The other is "pass coverage skills," though his strengths of "athleticism" and "speed" mean that, once he earns a bit of technique and play-recognition, he should be OK in that department. Let's finish up with the Scout profile:

Amazing on the blitz, he is as instinctual as you can find. He has a feel for getting through blocking and getting in to attack the quarterback, also good at blocking kicks. His size is okay but it is not above average. Good speed he uses it to his advantage on blitzes and coverage. Does a great job of working through blocks... Jones says he can bench 315-pounds and squat 515, earning him the nickname “Superman.”

Jones: “I’m able to read the play and can react fast. I’m a great blitzer and run stopper. I can also tackle and don’t let the guy get away.

“I’m working on my change of direction speed. I want to improve my hip flexibility and get better at pass coverage.”

Instincts and athleticism are at a premium for defenses under Rich Rodriguez, even if it means giving up a little size. He'll fit right in as that goes. Back to the ESPN profile for a more comprehensive breakdown of his game:

Note: although Rivals ranks him #80 in Texas, AggieYell.com pegs him all the way up at #35 in the Lone Star State.


Jones had tons of offers, and was as high-profile as any 3-star prospect (Rivals and ESPN) can be. Hometown Houston, Wyoming, and Boise State were his only non-BCS conference offers, but he also had 15 from auto-qualifying schools. From the PAC-10, Arizona, Stanford, and future member Colorado offered, SEC schools Arkansas and Vanderbilt offered, Virginia was the lone ACC offeree, and Illinois, and Purdue joined Michigan as Big Ten offers. In his home turf the Big 12, Baylor, departing Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, and Texas A&M all sent him offers.

The Michigan offer was the Big One, and as soon as he got on campus, he was convinced that Ann Arbor was the place for him.


His Scout profile gives an idea of 2009 stats:

Last season Kellen Jones finished with 75 tackles in nine games played. He also had 22 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumbles recovered, an interception, a safety, and six sacks. Also getting the attention of college coaches are his six blocked kicks, four punts and two field goals.

Junior Honors: First Team All-District; First Team All-State

Very nice stats, especially considering "OMG TEXAS FOOTBAW." The ability to force action with turnovers and sacks is especially encouraging.


Rivals says 4.6, which is reasonable, all things considered. He plays fast on film, but as for laser-timed, verified times, that's still pretty fast. I'll say two FAKEs out of five.


Junior highlights:


Jones is a little below optimal size, but Obi Ezeh exits after 2010, and no other middle linebacker has proven himself yet. He'll have a chance to contribute early, especially if JB Fitzgerald and Kenny Demens don't displace Ezeh this year.

I don't see a redshirt for Jones, as he'll spend his freshman year on special teams and in some backup situations. Hopefully, he'll be physically prepared to contribute right off the bat (an early enrollment would be excellent, though I haven't seen indications that he's planning to do so). Within a couple years, Jones should challenge for a starting role at inside linebacker, even if he starts on the outside to get acclimated to the college game. If he can stay healthy, All-conference honors are a possibility...

But there are past injury issues, including concussions. When it comes to an issue of "kid's future" v. "football team's success," everyone should side with the kid.


Sadly, I can no longer copy and paste the "hey we still need offensive linemen and linebackers" portion from previous Hello: X posts. Jones looks like a good fit at middle linebacker, and Michigan has nabbed a couple OL recently as well. Those are still the main positions of need in the class, but no longer the top priorities.

Michigan can stand to wait on a few kids they want (Zettel, Hart, and hopefully a few big-timers down the road), while accepting commitments that seem to be in the near future (Posada). The class is at or around half-full now, so the coaches can hold off and hope a good season generates interest from some top guys.



July 29th, 2010 at 7:29 PM ^

We start the week with the worst plays of the last 10 years, and finish it with the best plays and a hello post.  I like it.

Best of luck to Kellen!  May he have a great 4-5 years at Michigan, both on the field and as a student.


July 29th, 2010 at 7:42 PM ^

I have a question for some of you experts out there. Since this class is coming together very early in the year does it make it more likely that a majority of this kids will be able to get on campus early next year?


July 30th, 2010 at 7:57 AM ^

More likely, but it's certainly not THE determining factor. If kids aren't committed to a school yet, they obviously can't enroll there. However, guys typically have to plan at least a year in advance (i.e. halfway through their junior year) and take a heavy load, including summer classes, if they want to enroll early. And even then, they have to have the desire and grades, and a school that will allow them to graduate a semester early.


July 29th, 2010 at 7:43 PM ^

Jones is a 6'2", 230-pound middle linebacker, a four star ranked #195 overall by Scout. ESPN has him as a 79 and Rivals a generic three-star.


there is nothing generic about Kellen. Welcome to Michigan, we needed you.


July 29th, 2010 at 7:43 PM ^

Too breathless to post on the rumor post... But good practice for being breathless when we get to watch him play.  Great news.  Great kid.  And, yes, a LINEBACKER!!!   And a STUDENT!!!


July 29th, 2010 at 8:08 PM ^

A true playmaker.  Trust that Scout has it right on this one.  I feel the program moving, and it's going in the direction we want it to.  Welcome KJ!

You're going to love this town, this school, and this football program


July 29th, 2010 at 8:25 PM ^

6'2", 230 lbs in high school! Dude, you're beastly already but wait until you meet Coach Barwis, he'll help you release your inner Hulk...

Welcome to the program, Kellen, welcome to the Wolverines!