It has been a busy day of news in the college football universe, as earlier in the day Mel Tucker officially signed the bulk of the committed players in the 2021 recruiting class. However, Spartan Nation learned this afternoon that at least one member of the current roster will not be joining them on the field next year.
Redshirt senior fefensive tackle Naquan Jones announced via Twitter his intensions of declaring for the NFL Draft.
Thankful for it all pic.twitter.com/YNH3UnHYlF— Naquan Jones 9️⃣3️⃣ (@thealmightynay) December 16, 2020
In Jones’ statement he thanked his teammates, Spartan Nation, and the MSU coaching staff, including Coach Mark Dantonio, Coach Brad Salem, Coach Mel Tucker, and especially Coach Ron Burton who he referred to as both a father figure and a role model.
Jones came to MSU as a four-star recruit from Evanston, Illinois as a part of the highly-rated (but now somewhat infamous) 2016 recruiting class. Jones saw the field during his redshirt freshman year as a regular part of the defensive line rotation. As a redshirt senior in 2020, he saw his role expand to that of a starter, where he accumulated a total of 24 tackles (10 solo). Jones even recovered his first career fumble recovery this year against Rutgers in the season opener.
In a normal year, Jones would have exhausted his eligibility following his redshirt senior year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA would have have allowed Jones and all players in his situation to return for one more year in 2021. Based on today’s tweet, Jones feels that he is ready to pursue his NFL dream.
MSU is scheduled to play at Maryland this weekend and may play one more game as a part of a bowl game or other postseason game in some form. However, it is not clear if Jones will suit up again for the Spartans this year. Either way, we would like to thank Jones for his effort and dedication to the Michigan State program and to wish him the very best of luck in the NFL Draft and all of his future endeavors.