As of May 30, almost every member of Alabama’s 2016 recruiting class is enrolled on campus and working out with the team minus 3-star junior college defensive end commit Jamar King, who is finishing his final grades and is expected to join the team in July. But this is not the case for one of Alabama’s premiere commitments, Kendell “Hulk” Jones Jr., a 5-star defensive tackle in Touchdown Alabama’s ratings.
The 6’6″, 375 pound Texas defensive tackle was not able to academically qualify with the university and will instead attend a junior college. The Shoemaker product has began junior college classes already as of Monday morning, which school he is attending though, has not been named according to Chris Kirschner of SEC County, who initially broke the story.
Alabama fans were in awe of Jones when he committed in May of 2015 and stuck strong to his pledge until sending his LOI on National Signing Day. The massive defensive lineman was one of three tackles that are committed to the Crimson Tide, the other two being Raekwon Davis of Mississippi and Quinnen Williams out of Birmingham, who is likely going to be used as a hybrid lineman similar to Da’Shawn Hand and Jonathan Allen, unlike Davis who will be primarily a tackle. Jones moved through the ranks quickly in 2015 and 2016 after a big spring, which led to an outstanding summer in which he committed to the Crimson Tide. Although Shoemaker did not have an ideal season in 2016, Jones was essential to their run-stuffing defense, dominating teams on a weekly basis. He followed this with a solid showing at the Under Armour All America game where he simply stood out among the rest on natural size alone.
This is not a devastating loss for the Crimson Tide with Daron Payne going into his sophomore year with a lot of game experience at the tackle position, as well as plenty of depth along the defensive line returning as well as the additions of Davis and Williams, who both are likely contributors in their freshman year. Not to mention, Alabama has had some good luck with junior college transfers in the past, most recently Jarran Reed, who is now a Seattle Seahawk, D.J. Pettway who although was originally dismissed from the team before, he came back after his time on the JUCO level and was pivotal in Alabama’s defensive dominance in 2015. Another few notable names are Terrence Cody, the big defensive tackle responsible for the famous “Rocky Block” in the Tennessee game of 2009 and Jesse Williams who was a monster along Alabama’s 2012 and 2013 defensive line.
There is no telling whether this will be a one year or a two year stint in junior college for Jones, but whenever he is ready to get to Alabama there is no telling he will have all eyes on him upon his arrival.
Justin Wagner is the Lead Recruiting Analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @jwag718.