May 4, 2010

Taiwan Jones has multi-position potential

The following recruiting commitment story appeared in the April issue of SPARTAN Magazine. To subscribe to the online edition of SPARTAN Magazine for just $29.95 a year, go to www.spartanmagazineonline.com.


When Michigan State secured a verbal commitment from Taiwan Jones of Anchor Bay High on March 23, the Spartans added a versatile prospect with a ton of potential.

SpartanMag.com considers Jones the top safety prospect and the No. 9 player overall in the Class of 2011 in the state of Michigan.

Potential is the key here, as the Spartans recruited Jones, now 6-3, 220, as a defensive athlete. When he arrives on the MSU campus next summer he will be tried at safety, and depending on how big he is then, he could slide up to outside linebacker.

"That's what he is," Anchor Bay coach Phil Latona said of Jones being a player full of potential. "Right now he's not nearly what he could be. He's got a lot of time to grow, and I think that's what the Michigan State staff sees in him. He can play a lot of positions and he's got so much upside to him. And right now he's kind of a raw player, but he's got a bright future ahead of him."

Latona indicated that Jones has played as many as five positions for Anchor Bay during his two seasons on varsity. Those positions include quarterback, fullback and wide receiver on offense and safety and linebacker on defense, so he has experience at one of his possible college positions.

Latona said Jones excels at linebacker at the high school level, and he pictures Jones filling that same role early in his MSU career.

"I can best see him as an outside linebacker type. But I'm not sure how big he'll get. In high school right now he's about 6-3, 215 and he's only 16," Latona said. "If he was to put on a lot of weight I'm not sure that he might find himself as a D-end type. But probably outside linebacker. He runs well. That's pretty much where I see him at.

"He's blessed. The kid's got a great frame. He can probably easily handle another 20 or 25 pounds of muscle and move just as well as he does now. He's got the body type very close to the linebacker, (Greg) Jones, they have right now."

Mark Dantonio and the defensive staff have not mentioned anything about Jones growing into a defensive end, that's just Latona thinking aloud. But that's the point with Jones; he's a physical masterpiece with the ability to possibly fill several spots on the field for the Spartans.

And Jones is comfortable on defense and happy to play anywhere his future coaches need him.

"It really doesn't matter, outside linebacker or safety," said the soft-spoken Jones. He added: "On defense I will be fine. I bring to the table a hard hitter, basically an athlete. I'm versatile."

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