Good Counsel junior linebacker Keandre Jones committed to Maryland on Monday evening, giving the Terrapins a second quality pledge out of the class of 2016.
Jones said Monday that Maryland’s success in its inaugural Big Ten season “changed his mind around” about the school, and he noted that the school’s plan to re-purpose Cole Field House into a new $155 million indoor football and academic facility played into his decision. And ultimately, remaining close to home only strengthened the allure of pledging early.
“It was kind of an easy choice. I went with my gut,” Jones said. “They are building nice facilities up there, new facilities. I have friends up there now… a lot of things went into this and it wasn’t easy. Staying close to home was definitely the easiest choice to make.”
Jones only solidified his standing as one of the area’s better defensive recruits this fall. He finished with 59 solo tackles, 18 assisted tackles and nine sacks as an outside linebacker for Good Counsel, which finished 10-2 and was the runner-up in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. He is the second 2016 prospect to commit to the Terrapins, joining DeMatha junior running back Lorenzo Harrison.
Jones has made himself part of Good Counsel’s long lineage of highly touted linebackers, Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy said Monday. The school has also recently produced Akeem Hebron (Georgia), Jelani Jenkins (Miami Dolphins via Florida) and Dorian O’Daniel (Clemson), and “he’s right there with them,” Milloy said of Jones.
“He loves the game. He’s always smiling,” Milloy said.
Jones is rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, which also lists him the sixth-best player in the state in the class of 2016. He also had offers from Penn State, Virginia and West Virginia, according to the recruiting service. Jones said he felt his stock as a defender rise considerably during his junior season, and he has continued to grow into his body.
He arrived at Good Counsel weighing about 180 pounds, he said, currently weighs 205 and plans to add about 20 pounds before he arrives in College Park following his senior season. The more pressing matter Monday was celebrating his commitment by catching up with schoolwork.
“I’m going to do some homework,” he said. “I can focus on academics more now.”