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Get to Know Your Orange Man: #3, LB Mikel Jones

The Captain of the defense returns looking for an elusive bowl game

NCAA Football: Liberty at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Mikel Jones

Position: Linebacker

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 224 lbs.

Hometown: Miami, FL

High School: IMG Academy

2021 stats: 110 total tackles and 60 solo tackles (both 2nd in ACC), 13.0 tackles-for-loss (6th in ACC), 4.0 sacks, and a fumble recovery. It was a bit of a step back in some respects, with zero created turnovers compared to his four interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2020. Even without those flashy stats, it was still an excellent year for Jones.

2022 projections: This is where Mikel wants to put it all together - and why can’t he? If he can combine some of his coverage from 2020 with his improved QB pressure of last season, then it will be a stellar year for the veteran leader. Jones is on watch lists for the Butkus Award (top LB), Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player), and the Bednarik Award (national defensive player of the year).

How’d he get here?: The highest-rated Syracuse Orange recruit of the 2019 class, Jones had plenty of big-time offers including Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Iowa State, LSU, and West Virginia.

What’d recruiting sites say?: ESPN and Rivals gave Jones 4 stars, but 247 Sports opted for 3. Still, his composite was closer to 4, which seems to better reflect his talent and work ethic.

Money quote: During ACC Kickoff, Jones let the world know this ‘Cuse defense isn’t messing around

“My mentality is to play aggressive, to play physical and with the most effort,” Jones said. “We do that, with this defense, with how it’s set up and with the players we have on it, there’s nobody stopping us.”

Instagram: @mikeljones13

Twitter: @KelxJones

Tweet of wonder: Yeah, uh-huh, you know what it is: Blue and Orange, Blue and Orange, Blue and Orange, Blue and Orange!

Interesting nugget o’interest: Several other teams tried to coax Mikel into transferring out by implying he could get better N.I.L. deals, but he chose to stay with the Orange. It’s heavily speculated that his hometown Miami Hurricanes were one of them, so we’re very glad that Jones has faith in Syracuse.

Let’s get a look at ya: The Captain in action