Notre Dame has lost defensive tackle Jarron Jones for the season. The senior defensive tackle suffered an MCL injury that’ll require surgery, Irish head coach Brian Kelly confirmed on Saturday.
Jones has a fifth year of eligibility remaining and can return to the Irish in 2016, something he pointed to on a recent Instagram post. Then, he’ll be joined on campus by his younger brother Jamir, who will be a freshman next season after committing to the Irish a few months ago.
The loss of Jones forces Brian VanGorder’s defense to make a significant adjustment to its defensive line. One option could be starting true freshman Jerry Tillery in Jones’ spot, where the young standout impressed this spring. Another could be sliding Isaac Rochell inside, then putting Andrew Trumbetti and Romeo Okwara at the two defensive end spots.
Regardless of how the Irish plan to fill Jones’ sizeable shoes, the loss is a difficult one to a front four that was planning on pairing Jones with fellow senior Sheldon Day. But after Jones and Day both suffered injuries last season, the Irish were forced to develop depth, and this injury will trigger larger contributors from players like Daniel Cage, Jay Hayes, and Pete Mokwuah.
Jones took to Instagram to write the following:
“Next year. Pick up where we left off and get back at it. Still our year. Notre Dame’s new biggest cheerleader! We still outchea and I’m gonna enjoy this ride with my brothers! #Team127”