The No. 2 player on this list decided to put the NFL on hold for a year, which now makes him one of the top defensive tackles in college football this season. No big deal.
No. 2 Dre’Mont Jones, rJr. Defensive Tackle
Dre’Mont Jones came to Ohio State in 2015 as a defensive end, albeit a big one. He also came to the Buckeyes with a knee injury, which cost him his entire freshman season.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson wasn’t sure where Jones would end up on the front four, but it seemed likely that he would grow into a defensive tackle, which is what happened. As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Jones was an active defender, finishing with 52 tackles.
His 43 tackles in Big Ten play were the same number that B1G Defensive Player of the Year Jabrill Peppers had, and Jones did it as part of a rotation while only playing on running downs.
Jones’ numbers dropped last year to just 20 tackles, though he did miss a couple of games due to injury.
What He Does Well
As mentioned above, Dre’Mont Jones is active for a man of his stature (6-3 286), and is one of the best three-tech defensive tackles in the nation.
Over his first two years, Jones has really only been allowed to operate on running downs, which is why he has just one sack in his career. His coaches and teammates will tell you he is a tremendous pass rusher, and he dominated in that area this spring.
Jones can get into the backfield, and his five tackles for loss last season also came while rotating at least half the time.
An explosive defender off the ball, Dre’Mont Jones is a complete defensive tackle. He holds up against the run and is just getting started showing everyone what he can do as a pass rusher.
Dre’Mont Jones in 2018
Jones will likely be promoted to the Rushmen this season, which tells you what you need to know about his pass-rushing skills.
We have heard all spring how talented Jones is as a pass rusher and we are finally going to get to see it in action this year. Playing next to Nick Bosa or Chase Young or Jonathon Cooper is going to pit Jones one-on-one against some interior linemen who aren’t the pass blockers that the offensive tackles are.
This is Dre’Mont Jones’ contract year. He will likely be headed to the NFL after this season, so this will be Larry Johnson’s last opportunity to get as much out of Jones as they can. And expect Jones to happily participate every snap along the way.
What They Are Saying
“I think he’s probably the best three technique rusher in the Big Ten, in my eyes with what he does. So there’s a good chance that we’ll add him to our Rushmen package. Instead of going off the field, he’ll probably stay on the field right now, so that’s another reason to take advantage of his skill set.” — Defensive line coach Larry Johnson
“He’s going to get to play third downs, which is huge for him stock-wise and just getting better as a player. He takes all of the reps he can in one-on-ones, but actually getting out on the game field and pass rushing is a whole different thing. It’s going to be awesome to watch him.” — Defensive end Nick Bosa
“One of the mantras — you’ve heard the ‘five’ concept? That’s being an elite competitor, fierce competitor and then number two on the spring objectives was everyone’s going to have a won/loss record, and some are very proud of it and some are not. And we’ve charted everything. I mean going to back in January, any competitive situations, all the way through spring. For example, if I’m a wide receiver against a defensive back, in that situation you’re either winning or you’re losing. Same with blocking, all kinds of it.
“The guy that’s probably had the best spring of anybody on our team is Dre’Mont Jones. He was outstanding this spring. For a guy to come back, when a lot of people thought he should leave, a lot of times we have to deal with, whether it be effort issues or ‘Why am I doing this?’ issues, zero. That’s a credit to his family, Larry Johnson. He had a great spring. And if he continues his development, he could be one of the best in America at what he does.” — Urban Meyer
“So when they meet with me next week, I’m going to have a piece of paper in front of me that’s going to say how many times he’s won and he’s lost. That’s why I’m so proud of Dre’Mont — I can’t wait to see it. I’ve got a feeling that I know what it’s going to look like, not a whole lot of losses in there in the competitive situations. What you don’t want to do is put a guy like him and Bosa, I call them that 2,000-rep club, guys that have already been in combative, competitive situations, he doesn’t need to do that. But he does need to be in competitive situations where people stay up and he’s won most of those.” — Urban Meyer