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2013 Virginia Football Roster Profile: Marco Jones

We've reached the 50 day mark until the season kicks off. That means Marco Jones gets his day. Jones is a tweener DE/DT who's already been moved back and forth between the two positions more than once. On the one hand, this is good because he's capable of stepping in at either position. On the other hand, the uncertainly may be stunting his development as a player.

Position: DT/DE
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 255
Hometown: Baltimore, Md
High School: Boys Latin School
Year: Sophomore

Recruited as a DE, Jones was rated as a 3 star prospect by all the major recruiting services. He was the 65th DE in the nation from ESPN and 54th from Scout. He had offers all over the place, from Stanford to Connecticut to Kansas State and West Virginia. He was highly recruited, especially for a 3 star guy.

Although he was initially slotted at DE, Jones is probably a bit slow for a DE in London's defensive scheme. He's a guy who plays with very good leverage and can overwhelm a bigger OL with his strength and physicality. He was soon moved to DT, which appears to be a more natural fit for him.

Now, of course, just to confuse everybody, Jones is listed on the depth chart at DE. This may be due to a need at the DE position. However, there is a need at DT as well. Perhaps the staff thinks he can be an asset behind a smaller DE like Eli Harold. It may also be that the staff wants him to train at both positions to act as a swing DL.

Jones has yet to see the field, although he did dress for all the home games last year. He is likely to get some action this year, if nothing else just because there aren't a ton of DLs on the team. If any of the 4 starters are forced to miss any time, Jones quickly becomes a key backup.

Especially at DT, Jones would be best used as a guy who takes on blocks. His strength and technique will allow him to occupy blockers and hold his ground. As he improves, he'll get to a point where he can shed the blocks and make plays on his own. This would make him more useful as a DE, because he'd make plays off the edge.

At least for now, whether at DE or DT, Jones is best used as a situational guy against certain teams in certain game situations. He's isn't explosive enough to play in nickel/dime packages, and isn't experienced enough to get regular playing time against better teams.

If Jones is forced to play significant action this year, it may not be good for the team. But it will be a big benefit to him, and help him become a significant asset down the road.