Last Updated: 2018-01-06
Earlier in the week, the USC Trojans lost quarterback Sam Darnold to the NFL Draft. Now, running back Ronald Jones has decided to throw his hat into the ring in 2018. Jones, a junior running back for the Trojans really came on strong from the moment he stepped foot on campus in 2015.
Jones played meaningful snaps as a freshman, gaining 987 yards and scoring 8 touchdowns. He also managed a career high 6.5 yards per carry during his freshman season. However, Jones really blossomed during his final two seasons, going over 1,000 rushing yards in back to back years. Jones gained 1,082 yards in 2016 and flourished with a 1,550 yard performance this past season. In all, Jones scored 39 rushing touchdowns, highlighted by his 19-touchdown effort in 2017.
He is also a capable pass receiver out of the backfield. Although Jones wasn’t utilized much in the passing game, he still managed to catch 31 receptions and 3 touchdowns in three seasons. However, he made some spectacular plays and has a legitimate opportunity to be an every down back in the NFL. In fact, Jones might be the most versatile running back entering the draft, along with Saquon Barkley.
In addition to his quickness in the running game, Jones has long speed to break games wide open. He’s not the biggest back in the 2018 draft class. Therefore, some teams might shy away from taking him in the first round. Either way, his skill should make him a factor in the NFL for a long time. Apparently, Jones received a 2nd round grade from the draft advisory board. As a result, he had no choice but to forego his final season with the Trojans. Depending on what he runs at the NFL Combine, Jones could slide up into the first round.
Jones had eight games where he carried the ball at least 20 times. Four of those games came at the end of the 2017 season. He capped it off with 30 carries for 140 yards and two scores in the PAC-12 Championship win over Stanford. That short sample size is some proof that Jones can become an every down back at the next level.
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