Listed Measurements: 6-foot-4, 290 pounds
2018-19 year, eligibility: Incoming freshman with four years of eligibility remaining, including the 2018 season.
Depth chart: Jones will spend this season, at the least, working at center behind fifth-year Sam Mustipher and perhaps senior Trevor Ruhland. When it comes to competitive situations, there is also a strong chance fifth-year left guard Alex Bars would slide to center if Mustipher suffered an injury.
Recruiting: A consensus three-star prospect, Jones de-committed from a months-long pledge to Arkansas when Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema was about to be shown the door. He quickly committed to Notre Dame and did not waver in the slightest when Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand departed for the NFL.
Not many incoming freshmen hear their names mentioned during spring practice. Jones did when new offensive line coach Jeff Quinn discussed the options at center behind Mustipher.
“We have a couple freshmen coming in,” Quinn said in mid-April. “I’d like to see Luke Jones. He should be somebody who can come in there and start at that position, in terms of beginning his development at that position.”
WHAT WAS SAID WHEN JONES’ NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
“Current sophomores Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg have not excelled at tackle. That issue led to [Robert] Hainsey playing throughout his freshman season as much as Hainsey’s solid practice performances did. Such a leap is unlikely to be repeated a second time in two seasons, but it could lead to an opportunity in a year or two for Jones.”
Notre Dame desperately hopes Jones does not see the field this year. If he did, that would almost certainly mean three-year starter and captain Mustipher is out with a long-term injury. That would cripple any offensive line chemistry. Instead, the Irish would like to see Jones preserve a year of eligibility.
DOWN THE ROAD
Working at center this year could pan out very well for Jones. Notre Dame will need a center after this year, and even if Ruhland secures the gig in 2019, Jones will be ready to step in afterward. It may not be a glamorous position, but a starting role is how a player gets onto the field.
Jones is built for inside work, anyway. He will be ready as a run blocker before he is a pass blocker or edge setter, so clicking at center could be a win-win for all parties involved.
WHY NO. 73?
As always, the numbers are not yet known for incoming freshmen. Jones landing at No. 73 in this exercise is partly a result of so few digits being available in the 70-79 range preferred by the NCAA for anyone who may end up at tackle. Only Nos. 73, 77 and 79 are currently available, and considering Jones wore 72 in high school (owned by Hainsey with the Irish), this is but a step away.
Some offensive linemen end up in the 60s. That does not preclude them from playing tackle. See: Mike McGlinchey and No. 68. It just isn’t the norm in those respects, and why limit Jones’ openings moving forward before needing to?
NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 93 (theoretically) Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
No. 90 (theoretically) Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
No. 79 (theoretically) Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
No. 77 (theoretically) Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer