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Syracuse football: LB Mikel Jones announces return for 2022

Good news for the Orange defense, as its best player is back for another season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 19 Syracuse at Pitt Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We haven’t had a ton of good news lately on the Syracuse Orange football front, but Thursday afternoon at least delivered something positive as we look ahead toward the 2022 season. Linebacker Mikel Jones, who was exploring his options for April’s NFL Draft, announced that he’ll be returning to Syracuse next season:

Given the number of questions Syracuse has all around the roster, having Jones back at linebacker is a big boost for this team, which will be replacing its top four players on the defensive line and perhaps corner Garrett Williams too if he opts to enter the draft. Jones was first-team All-ACC in 2021, collecting 110 tackles and 13 tackles for loss. In 2020, he was All-ACC honorable mention while leading the conference in interceptions with four.

The linebacker position has been a highlight for Syracuse these past couple years, and plenty of that comes from the quality play of Jones. As a factor both defending against the pass and run, even casual observers will notice that he’s all over the field during any game. Defenders like that aren’t easy to come by, and it would be ideal to have him around both from an on-field production standpoint and to help bring along the team’s young linebackers further down the depth chart who have yet to see the field much.

Again: Great news, and a nice boost for this defense heading into the offseason. Glad to have you back, Mikel!