Just one day before the NCAA’s February 1st signing day, head coach Geoff Collins and Temple Football added a decorated cornerback and return man to the program. Mike Jones, a native of Baltimore, Maryland- has 11 career INTs and over 600 punt return yards in his 3 seasons at North Carolina Central. In 2016, the team won the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference championship, while Jones was an All-MEAC selection at defensive back.
Jones announced he was leaving NC Central via his Instagram page in December 2016.
With plenty of success in the Mid-East Atlantic Conference also came with NFL draft possibilities. Entering this past bowl season, ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay said Jones “stands out to me as the best” of a list of late round draft choices. Instead of declaring for the 2017 NFL draft- Jones chose to play for Taver Johnson’s defense under Geoff Collins.
Temple’s defense graduated starting cornerback Nate Hairston after last season, and Jones will be primed to step into a starting role. Complete the secondary with safeties Sean Chandler and Delvon Randall, an opposing cornerback slot will be open for competition in the spring and summer- likely to be last year’s starter Artrel Foster. The unit that last year led the AAC in pass defense, and ranked nationally in opposing total pass yards per game allowed (150.2) and touchdowns allowed (13).
In 2016, Jones made 30 tackles and had two interceptions and five pass break-ups. As a returner, he averaged 22.0 yards per punt return with two touchdowns.