Super 16: Jones Takes Aggression Out on Panthers' Foes
Tue. August 21, 2012 at 10:28 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
MULBERRY'S KYLE JONES leads the way for the Panthers on the offensive line, but he wants to try his hand at tight end as well. (Photo by MICHAEL WILSON | THE LEDGER )
By SOLANGE REYNER
MULBERRY | For a big man, Kyle Jones can run.
The Mulberry lineman is 6-foot-3 and weighs 290 pounds and can finish the 40-meter dash in 4.99 seconds flat. He's wanting to get that time down to a 4.8 so his coach will allow him to play another position.
"I have a bet going with him," Mulberry coach Raleigh Jackson said. "If he can run a 4.8 then he can play some tight end. He tells me every day that he'll get that 4.8. He wants to catch a pass real bad."
Jackson said Jones has the ability to play that role well, but he'd rather have his stud lineman help push Mulberry's offense forward as the team's right guard because its what he does best.
"He's big enough and strong enough to block straight ahead but quick enough to get out on sweeps," Jackson said. "He's a kid who believes you can run all plays behind him."
And Mulberry does that often because Jones can handle the load. He's strong and, despite his size, nimble. Jones can bench press 420 pounds and squat over 500. He power cleans about 260 pounds.
Jones pulls well, too, and his skills have gotten him noticed by several Division I programs, including Florida International University, a school in the Sun Belt Conference. He committed to FIU early in the summer.
Jackson said Jones is also getting interest from USF and UCF.
Jones, a rising senior, is also a PolkPreps.com Super 16 selection, a list of the top 16 rising seniors in Polk County.
Jackson said he enjoys coaching Jones because he's a gritty player who enjoys playing the game. He said Jones deals well with the trash talk in the trenches and he calls him Big Nasty because of his ability to get after opponents.
"Kyle will never back down," Jackson said. "Kids talk a lot of trash in the game and he talks right back. He plays down and dirty and finds a way to get after them."
Jones agrees with that assessment.
"I'm very aggressive, mean and hard-nosed," he said. "I like to play football because it allows me to hit people and not get into trouble."