The general manager says right now he is perhaps the best young Redskin running back in camp.

The head coach says he definitely is in contention for a place on the roster "although he is really a surprise to me."

The backfield coach says he "has great vision as a runner, he sees things on the field more clearly. I sure know more about him now than I did two weeks ago."

And Mike Jones, the man drawing all the rave reviews, says he still is somewhat confused about what is happening to him.

Despite the compliments, he is a rookie palying an unfamiliar position - fullback instead of tailback - and he hardly was used in last week's scrimage against Baltimore. Saturday, when the two clubs meet again at 2 p.m. here, he hopes to see a lot more playing time.

"But if I have a chance to stick, I'll play anywhere and do anything they want," Jones said. "I mean, this really shouldn't be happening to me."

So who is Mike Jones, a young man keeping pace with the likes of Tony Green, Benny Malone, Louis Carter, Ike Forte, Clarence Harmon and the rest of the better-known backs in camp?

He is 23, a product of Grambling College who started off this spring in Canada with Edmonton, then quit after not likeing the cool weather or the every-man-in-motion style of football north of the border.

What Jones lacks in size - he is 5-foot-10,205 pounds - he makes up for in quickness and toughness. Yet he has so little ball-carrying experience that he was bypassed in the draft. One reason for this oversight was his role in college last season - a benchwarmer most of the year.

"You always hope you get someone like Mike in camp every year," Coach Jack Pardee said. "You need a surprise, an unknown like him, to keep things lively.

"I remember in Chicago one year we drafted Quick Six McDaniels and then took Roland Harper on the 17th round. No one knew him at all. Well, Quick Six was quicksixed out of the camp while Roland started at fullback in the first regular-season game."

Jones has a long way to go before duplicating Harper's achievement. First, he has to beat out several similarly talented players. And he also must either adapt to the blocking requirements of fullback or convince the coaching staff he belongs at tailback.

"It's so early in camp that I really don't want to make any real judgments yet." Pardee said. "There is no question that Mike is in the competition. The same goes for Buddy Hardeman (free agent from Iowa State). I didn't know much about him either."

The Redskins initially became acquainted with Jones when Dick Daniels, director of college scouting, checked him out at Grambling. Despite Jones' lack of playing time, Daniels liked his quickness and his potential but not enough for Washington to use one of its five draft choice to pick him.

Jones also had offers from Baltimore and Dallas but felt "I had a better opportunity with Washington since Mike Thomas had left. They told me they would give me a good shot. That's all I could ask for."

Just having any kind of offer was enough for him, considering his struggles since leaving high school as a linebacker.

the first attended Nicholls State in Louisiana, starting school as a defensive back but emerging as a 900-yard rusher his freshman season.

But Jones did not get along with his head coach and he transferred to Grambling, which had not recruited him out of high school. After sitting out one year, he was hurt the next season, academically ineligible another and a starter for two games his senior campaign before being injured again. When he returned, he was a backup player who barely gained 300 yards.

"I figured no one would touch me, since I couldn't even be a star in college," Jones said. "But I wound up getting letters from most of the pro teams. They all liked my quickness. They said I probably could be a world-class runner, although I never ran track."

So far that quickness has served him well in camp, although he also has had to learn the intriacies of blocking, a heretofore unfamiliar assignment.

"I never had to block before in my life," he said. "Here, as a fullback, you have to go out after people like Harold McLinton or Brad Dusek. It's not easy. Sometimes I think they are never going to call a running play for me."

But Jones was switched to fullback in part to make sure he learned some blocking skills.

"We wanted to see if he could play two positions," said Fred O'Connor, the Redskin backfield coach. "He never had to block, but you aren't going to stay in this league without knowing how to do it. And by putting him at fullback, it helped even off our backfield numbers.

"He is looking good, but I want to hold back until I see him in a game-type situation. They can look good out here, where we can talk to them after every play, but will he be able to coordinate his assignments correctly in a game? That's what we have to see."

And if Jones does manage to make the team - he is competing with probably everyone but John Riggins, Beeny Malone and Tony Green in the cutdowns - he says it will fulfill a dream he had when he was a teen-ager

"I once dreamed I would play with the Redskins," he said."And even when I was in Canada, I felt that way. I hope now those signs are right."

The Redskins will host the Colts in a 2 p.m. scrimmage ( $3 general admission) Saturday at Dickinson's Biddle Field. The scrimage will consist of a number of drills that should involve veterans from both teams. CAPTION: Picture, Rookie running back Mike Jones is getting close Redskin look. By Richrd Darcey - The Washington Post