LB Kellen Jones Talks With The Victors Voice

Future Wolverine Kellen Jones talks to The Victors Voice in an exclusive interview.  He spoke about his long time love for Michigan, where he is projected to play, his deep desire to beat Ohio State and more.

On July 29th 2010, the Michigan football program gained an early commitment for the 2011 recruiting class when Kellen Jones verbally committed to becoming a Michigan Wolverine. Fast forward seven months and the changes around the program are drastic. Out went Rich Rodriguez along with his entire staff and in came Coach Hoke with a new set of coaches.  The firing of Coach Rod was a substantial hit to Michigan’s 2011 recruiting class.  There were a slew of talented players that decided they wanted to go elsewhere when Coach Rod was fired.  Luckily for the Maize and Blue, Kellen never wavered with his commitment.   For Kellen part of the reason why he never wavered started within his own home. 

"My dad’s dream was to go to Michigan and he passed that onto me.  He also passed on being a Michigan fan.  We come from a large group of Michigan fans and my dream was to go there." Kellen said.
Michigan wasn’t Kellen’s only dream school growing up.  Miami, Florida, Georgia and Georgia Tech were also favorites of this talented linebacker.  Coming from Houston, Texas some may have assumed he would’ve stayed in the south where the warmer weather is at instead of coming north to experience the brutally cold winters in Michigan.  Contrary to what some may have thought the cold weather wasn’t a deterrent and to Kellen the decision to come to Michigan was an easy one. 
“I had five dream schools growing up but Michigan was the top one.  I knew the fight song, “The Victors.”  I didn't know the other schools songs.” "I know they (Michigan) have won more games in history and nobody else can compete with that" said Kellen about choosing Michigan. 
Kellen visited Ann Arbor and the Michigan campus last October for his official visit.  He was on site for the Michigan vs. Michigan State rivalry game.  Even though he witnessed the third straight loss to the Spartans the loss proved not to be a distraction for him.  Kellen was blown away from the visit and it further cemented his desire to becoming a Wolverine. 

“Ann Arbor was a great place.  It is one of the reasons why I chose to go there.  I wanted a diverse environment and the environment was great.  I definitely didn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere.   It’s one of the most diverse colleges and the academics are some of the best in the world. Michigan has the largest alumni and don’t forget they have one of the winingest programs in football history” said Kellen about why he chose Michigan over his other dream schools and over 18 scholarship offers.    

One of Michigan’s most iconic landmarks is Michigan Stadium, also known as the “Big House.”  Michigan Stadium has historically been one of the reasons why players commit to Michigan and for Kellen the experience of seeing Michigan Stadium first hand was nothing short of breathtaking.  He was able to see a packed stadium full of loud, cheering fans hoping to help their Wolverines to a win. To Kellen the noise was incredible and left a lasting impression on what he can expect from the fans during home games.

“It was just great.  I was just looking around and seeing everyone there and cheering. Chanting “Hail to the Victors” every time we score. It was just great I loved it” said Kellen.

The fans weren’t the only aspect of the stadium that Kellen was blown away with.  The sheer noise level was a factor he will never forget.

“The fans’ cheering was great.  All the chants that they do there and the fans cheering every time we make a big play I can see why it is one of the toughest places to play and I can see why people false start because you can’t hear.  The amount of noise the fans create just makes it tough to play in.  You just cannot hear the quarterback” said Kellen.

During his official visit Kellen enjoyed the company of defensive lineman Mike Martin and quarterback Denard Robinson.  He came away impressed with Denard saying, “Denard is definitely a great guy.”  While spending time with Mike Martin he noticed they were a like in a lot of ways. One of those ways is he could tell Mike Martin was very passionate about playing football and being a Michigan Wolverine.  After the loss to Sparty Mike told Kellen, who was also spending some time with Devin Gardner, “man after a loss I usually just go to my room and lay on my bed but thanks to you all when can go ahead and go out and show you all around.”

According to Kellen, shortly after being hired, former Baltimore Ravens and Michigan’s new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison contacted him.  He told Kellen where he would be playing in the new 4-3 defensive scheme to be installed this fall.  Mattison told him he would either be playing the middle or weak side linebacker spots and Kellen couldn’t be more excited about both positions. 

When talking about the middle linebacker or the “MIKE” spot Kellen said, “I would be very effective in the “MIKE.”  Being a run-stopper, just send me down the middle and I can take anybody’s head off that is coming across the middle.”

While he may have played middle linebacker in high school and it would be an easier transition Kellen also feels he would be extremely effective at the weak side linebacker or “WILL” spot, “I really like that spot to be honest.  I am a former defensive end and I have a quick first step.  I really like coming off the edge.  It is definitely a position I could be very effective at” said Kellen about play the “WILL”

To every Michigan fan there are two games every year that are near and dear to their hearts.  Those are the yearly contests versus Michigan State and Ohio State. Winning against Michigan State is vital for Michigan for bragging rights and assists their coaches in winning key recruiting battles within their own state.  Michigan has lost three years in a row to Michigan State.  That record has left a bitter taste in the fans, alumni and players. 

As soon as Kellen heard Michigan State he said, “The Paul Bunyan trophy!  They have beaten us three times in a row so we are going to go ahead and take that back.”  He went on further to say, “just like Mike Hart said, Little Brother!”  

Beating arch-rival Ohio State in the greatest rivalry in all of sports is an every year expectation for the Wolverines.  “The Game” as it is passionately referred to is one where records are no indicator on whom will walk away the victor.  Michigan hasn’t beating Ohio State since 2003.  As Michigan's losing streak continues to favor Ohio State, Michigan fans, alumni and players have to endure the constant barrage and humiliation filled antics of buckeye fans from all over.  Ending that streak and restoring respect from buckeye fans is one of the top priorities for Kellen Jones.

“Ohio State ahh man, let’s just put it this way, we are going to win because I just cannot stand Ohio State.  During my time there (at Michigan) we are not going to lose all four years.  I just cannot imagine that because I just cannot stand Ohio State. I’m sorry, I just hate Ohio State and that’s why I’m going to Michigan.  All of the rivalries Michigan State, Notre Dame and especially Ohio State those are definitely going to be my best games” Kellen said passionately about Michigan’s rivalries.

Even though the Ohio State game is played towards the end of November and Kellen is from Texas he is not one bit worried about the cold, “That doesn’t make a difference at all” said Kellen about the cold temperatures that players from both teams must endure during that game.  “I have no problem with that trust me.  When it comes to rivalry games if you are that passionate about it and the adrenaline gets going you cannot feel anything. It won’t affect you at all” Kellen further stated about playing in the cold.

According to Kellen if he was able to tell a group of Michigan fans what he is all about he would tell them, “What I bring to the table is I am a run stopper and my passing coverage game.  I am going to do my best to go ahead and get the program turned around and put an end to the defense being ranked as one of the last in the Big Ten like the last three years.  We are going to put an end to that and get back to the top 10. I definitely will do my best to do that. I can’t guarantee anything.  It is all what god has for me.   You never know what he has in store in life.  I am hoping it is football.  I want to put an end to the (opposing teams) running game and just get back to one of the top defenses in the country every year.”  

Kellen plans on enrolling at Michigan in June.  He holds a 3.3 gpa and plans to major in either Math or Engineering.  He aspires to become either an accountant or a math teacher.  His mother’s side of the family has a long tradition of teaching and being strong in math. The Michigan football program is getting a player who has wanted to be a Michigan Wolverine since he was a young kid.  He is an aggressive linebacker with good size, speed and will be an much needed addition to the Wolverine defense. 

To learn more about Kellen Jones to include his junior and senior year stats and some highlight videos please click here Kellen Jones Signing Day Showcase

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