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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Countdown to Signing Day: Melvin Jones

By Gary Laney

To gear up for 2013 national signing day, GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney will break down every commitment in the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: ATH Melvin Jones, Lake Charles, La./Washington-Marion, 6-foot-3, 245 pounds

Committed: June 29, 2012

ESPN Grade: 78, Three-star prospect

Picked LSU over: Offers from, among others, Alabama and Texas A&M

State of the position: Like a lot of Louisiana's top players, Jones was used at quarterback and several other positions in high school. He likely projects as a linebacker, where he won't be under pressure to contribute right away, given LSU brought in seven linebackers in the 2012 signing class and has two seniors with starting time, including 100-tackle stalwart Lamin Barrow, back to anchor the position.

Pros: Jones is blessed with a big body that makes linebacker his most likely position only if he stays on the light side of his potential weight. It's not unreasonable to say he could get to defensive tackle playing weight easily if he wanted to. He's athletic enough to have been used at quarterback and running back, which suggests he has straight-ahead speed that would allow him to pursue sideline-to-sideline. He also has a naturally large core, and massive legs will make him a strong, powerful force as a linebacker coming up to take on blocks and make a hit on a ball carrier in the hole.

Cons: The same powerful build that can make him a physical tackler will have to be overcome in areas that involve quick footwork and lateral movement. He struggled some in pass coverage at LSU's camp, which made some think he might be better fit to bulk up for the defensive line. If he's going to play SEC linebacker, he'll probably have to maximize his lateral movement to be competitive in that area.

Similar to/potential role: As a linebacker, he recalls a Jacob Cutrera, who also had a big frame as a middle linebacker and good straight-ahead speed (though Jones might be faster). Jones is also bigger. It would not be shocking to see him add strength, keep his body fat low, and play as an imposing, 250-pound linebacker.