Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver

Listed Measurements: 6-foot-4 ½, 215 pounds.
2019-20 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Jones has all four seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019, after taking a traditional redshirt last year.
Depth chart: One of five sophomore receivers, much more is made of Jones’ four classmates than of him. That is at least in part due to him failing to crack the two-deep at either the boundary (behind senior Chase Claypool and sophomore Kevin Austin) or the slot (behind fifth-year Chase Finke and sophomore Lawrence Keys), the position he would logically fit and the one he worked at most this spring, respectively.
Recruiting: The No. 36 receiver in the country and a four-star prospect, per, Jones committed to Notre Dame a year before he expected to sign and never reconsidered, despite myriad Big Ten and SEC offers.

Despite being an early enrollee, Jones never came close to the field in 2018. Perhaps more alarming, he was not one of 16 Irish players to catch a pass in last month’s Blue-Gold Game.

To put it bluntly, Jones was last a relevant piece of conversation when Notre Dame received his National Letter of Intent in December of 2017. Back then, Irish head coach Brian Kelly saw a clear fit at the boundary position. The size and strong hands that warranted Jones’ recruitment would theoretically make him a natural along the sideline.

“Micah is more of a boundary player,” Kelly said. “Big, physical, can win one-on-one matchups. We love that about him and his size.”

“Jones arrives as part of a stellar receiver class, one of four who cover every angle of the position from size to speed. While (Miles) Boykin, Finke and Claypool each will have only one more year of eligibility after this fall, a bit of an eligibility and experience gap exists between them and this freshman class. Only (Javon) McKinley, (Michael) Young and hybrid-running back (Jafar) Armstrong fill out that interim, a byproduct of former Irish receiver Kevin Stepherson’s exit.

“Thus, Jones will be competing with Austin and, to some extent, (Braden) Lenzy to become the next sideline and red-zone threat. Even in 2019, one of the trio should emerge as the primary back-up to Boykin and/or Claypool, if both in fact return to Notre Dame for their final years of eligibility.”

Looking through all notes from spring practice reports, press conferences and videos, the only one applicable to Jones is a commentary on how little of an impression he made. While he still has size — being 6-foot-4 ½ is not exactly something that goes away in a year — and presumably strong hands, Jones lacks the speed or athletic ability to create separation at this level.

For now, that rather definitively leaves him on the third-team, at best. Maybe Jones gets some mop-up work, but it is more likely to go to Lenzy or Joe Wilkins or maybe even incoming freshman Kendall Abdur-Rahman, receivers who would be called upon in case of injury before Jones would be.

The outlook on Miles Boykin was never necessarily this bleak, and by no means should such a rise be projected for any player, but Boykin’s path from afterthought to featured receiver proves it is always possible. Jones could turn the next six months of weight room work into a strong 2020 spring and a role in the offense once Claypool and Finke are out of eligibility.

Not that such is probable. It, well, isn’t, in part because of Austin and Lenzy and Keys and even Wilkins, a converted defensive back. Their success makes Jones’ breakthrough less likely.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver