Northwestern wasn't necessarily planning on adding another linebacker to its Class of 2018. But when you get a chance to land a player like Khalid Jones, you take him and don't look back.
The three-star prospect from Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes committed to the Wildcats on Wednesday to surprise many observers and become the 16th member of the class.
Jones, the 24th-ranked inside linebacker in the country, announced his commitment on Twitter:
The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder chose Northwestern over offers from at least 13 other schools, including 10 from the Power Five. Among his offers were schools from the ACC (Duke, Wake Forest), Big Ten (Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin) and SEC (Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee).
Linebacker was a prominent need for the Wildcats this recruiting cycle after losing three to graduation after the season and three more in the last calendar year due to early retirements. However, after landing Grayson Mann and Jaylen Rivers, sources said that Northwestern's linebacker quota was most likely filled in what is a small class this year.
But when Jones pulled the trigger, the Wildcats snapped him up, regardless of his position.
Northwestern coaches think that Jones, an athletic, physical and sideline-to-sideline player, can one day replace All-Big Ten performer Anthony Walker Jr. at middle linebacker. Jones registered 115 tackles and 14 TFL for Byrnes in 2016.
Jones was offered by Northwestern last November and visited for a bowl practice in December, an experience that he told WildcatReport checked all the boxes. He visited several other SEC schools in the interim but wound up coming back to the Wildcats.
Northwestern's class is currently ranked 26th in the country by Rivals.
More to come from WildcatReport...