• Bags Packed and Moving On: LB, Mike Jones

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    With the new transfer rule in place, college players have a little more say in where they want to play. Who has their bags packed and is moving on?

    The transfer portal has seemingly become a big thing in the college football world, but truth is, it has always been around. So why all the interest now? Well, before last year, there were several rules that prevented a lot of the player moves we’re seeing now, such as NCAA rules, conference rules, and even team rules.

    The NCAA rule said you could only transfer down without having to sit out a year. Some of the conferences prevented in-conference transfers. and then there were the team rules (or coach’s decision) as to where they would let you transfer. However, recently, the NCAA changed the game when they changed their rule to a one-time transfer anywhere, with no penalty. With that rule in place, players can now transfer wherever they want.

    In this series of articles, I want to go over some of the top transfers of the 2021 off-season. I will break down where these players started, where they transferred to, and what that means for your IDP college teams. Any time a player transfers, there are a lot of factors to take into account, such as the change in competition level, depth charts, scheme fits, etc, and it’s not always the best move.

    Let’s get started and look at some of the top transfers of this spring who have their bags packed and could be moving on?

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    Clemson Tigers, Past

    Players transfer for a number of reasons -- being homesick, lack of playing time, etc -- but it’s not every day you see a starter for a national championship-caliber team transfer to another school. However, that was the case with Mike Jones. (Yes I’m singing “Who? Mike Jones, Who? Mike Jones” in my head, too)

    Jones began his career at IMG Academy in Florida, where he helped lead them to a 20-0 record during his time there. He signed with Clemson, having the vision of being the Tigers' next big star. He was mostly a special teams player his first two seasons with Clemson before he started as a redshirt sophomore (2020). Jones had a nice season as the SAM linebacker and was expected to be even better this season.

    With superstar Isaiah Simmons off to the NFL, Jones would get the opportunity to showcase his talents for the Tigers. Jones was an impact player for Clemson with 26 tackles, 4 TFLs, 4 sacks, and 2 interceptions and got better as the season progressed. With almost all of Clemson’s defense set to return, why would Jones want to leave a National Championship-caliber team?

    Jones is set to graduate in 2022 and wanted to play inside the box as middle linebacker, and on a team that would give him that opportunity. After a good talk with Head Coach Dabo Swinney, he and Jones agreed on Jones' transfer. Dabo spoke highly of Jones and wished him the best in the future.


    LSU Tigers, Future

    What the Tigers are getting in Jones is a former four-star recruit who is a great fit for their defensive scheme and is considered to be one of the best transfers in the country. This is good because LSU is looking for the next star linebacker in the middle following in steps of former stars Devin White and Jabril Cox.

    Jones has the size, at 6’1” and 225 lbs, and some experience playing inside linebacker with Clemson. He can attack downhill and has the ability to drop in coverage or rush the passer when needed. Jones has shown he can produce at a very high level against top-level competition, so the move to the SEC shouldn’t be difficult for him. On top of that, he will have three years of eligibility left to play for LSU.

    He won’t have a lot of competition for a starting spot at LSU, as he and Damone Clark are already the projected starters, as the rest of the unit is a thin and inexperienced group, at best. Jones is naturally athletic and, with his versatility, will provide LSU with some options in how they use him. He’ll make the switch from playing as a nickel linebacker at Clemson to being a three-down linebacker for LSU.

    Jones possesses a combination of speed, strength, and instincts that are all at high levels. With the coaching change on defense, it will be his leadership and championship experience that LSU needs the most. Jones also brings NFL DNA to the table, as his dad played six seasons with the Saints and Vikings.

    IDP Fantasy Outlook

    Jones ranked just inside my top 20 IDP Devy rankings and will be watching him closely the next two seasons. The change in teams didn’t hurt his value as a fantasy asset and may have even helped him some. I expect him to take his game to the next level with LSU, as he should be on the field a lot more than he was at Clemson. As a result, his numbers should increase by quite a bit.

    Jones is a devy LB2 to start this season, with LB1 potential. Projecting player values for the pro level is a bit tricky when a player has so much eligibility left. At this moment, Jones is likely a day two selection, being selected somewhere in the third round.

    Thanks for reading my article. If you enjoyed it, you can read more of my articles on my author page at IDP Guys. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America). You can also follow me on social media, on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub --I’m user KingTitan1 -- and you can tune in each week and listen to IDP Nation & Devy IDP Grind, the podcasts that I co-host, on several different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation #IDP #IDPDevy

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