Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 1/15/13
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. January is a month that college coaches typically use to solidify the commitments of high school and junior college prospects for the fall. But the biggest commitments often come when a junior decides to stay in school for his senior season. Florida States defense looks a lot better in 2013 after leading tackler Christian Jones decided he will return to school and not enter the NFL Draft. The deadline for draft-eligible players to decide was Tuesday. Jones, Florida States weakside linebacker, led the team with 95 tackles. He had at least nine tackles in five of the Seminoles final six games and is a versatile player that is both a capable run-stopper while also able to drop into coverage. The native of Winter Park had 10 tackles in the Orange Bowl win over Northern Illinois. He said after the game that he was going to take time to make his decision. A lot of guys the past couple of years have helped to turn the program around, and I want to continue to be a part of that process, Jones said. Ive always talked with some of the guys I came in with and weve always talked about finishing together and thats also something I wanted to do. Jones has 27 starts at Florida State under his belt, and the defense can use not only his play at linebacker but also his leadership. His return solidifies a linebacking corps that loses seniors like Vince Williams (59 tackles) and Nick Moody (20 tackles). Now Jones will anchor a group that includes middle linebacker Telvin Smith, who had 64 tackles in 2012 despite not starting a game. The third linebacking spot is up for grabs but could go to Reggie Northrup, Ukeme Eligwe or Karlos Williams, who may move up from his safety spot. Jones was considered a middle-round pick in Aprils NFL draft if he left after his junior season. For a player that was once a five-star prospect and one of the prizes of the class of 2010, leaving early in the hopes of being taken somewhere in the third, fourth or fifth round wasnt appealing. Jones is a good linebacker. But was he good enough to separate himself from the pack of linebackers in the 2013 draft? Odds are he would have blended in at the NFL Combine, and he would not have had the benefit of participating in a showcase all-star game like the Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine Game. Now Jones returns to school, where he can complete his degree in Sport Management, anchor the Florida State defense in the fall and strengthen his NFL resume. This is the best decision for me and my family, Jones said. Im looking forward to coming back, working hard, improving my game but also helping Florida State continue with the success weve had. Jones has been part of a Florida State defense that allowed just 15.1 points per game in 2011 (fourth nationally) and 14.7 in 2012 (sixth). The Seminoles allowed just 254 yards per game last year, second only in the Football Bowl Subdivision to national champion Alabama. But Florida State has plenty of holes to fill up front after losing all four starting defensive linemen, including All-American end Bjoern Werner and All-ACC end Tank Carradine. Senior tackles Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud are also moving on. So Florida State needed a player like Jones at linebacker someone who could make up for what will be a year of transition up front. Florida State has backups with experience, especially tackles like Timmy Jernigan, Demonte McAllister, Eddie Goldman and Jacobbi McDaniel, who returns after missing all of 2012 with an ankle injury. Depth is not a concern in the secondary, where Florida State loses just one starter after defensive back Xavier Rhodes departs following his junior season. Safety Lamarcus Joyner opted to return, leading a group that includes freshman All-American Ronald Darby, Nick Waisome, Terrence Brooks and Tyler Hunter. Florida State will open this fall with seven new starters on defense. And a new coordinator in Jeremy Pruitt. Those are a lot of adjustments for a team. But Florida State has the talent to fill those gaps. And Jones commitment certainly helps. I think his decision shows great commitment to FSU and great commitment to his future, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects


Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Iowa athletics department under federal civil rights investigation

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker