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Texas DE Jacoby Jones announces return for 2021 season

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A backup defensive end in 2020, Jones will take advantage of a fifth year of eligibility.

NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Another Texas Longhorns player will take advantage of the extra year of eligibility afforded by the NCAA due to the coronavirus pandemic, as defensive end Jacoby Jones announced Tuesday that he will return for a fifth season overall and third season on the Forty Acres.

“I would first like to thank Coach (Tom) Herman for giving me the opportunity to play for one of the top programs in America,” Jones said in his statement. “I also have to thank Coach Giles and Coach Ash for helping me to become a better athlete on the field and an even better man off of the field. To the rest of the defense of staff and player personnel staff, thank you for all the guidance since I enrolled from JUCO.

“With that being said, I have some unfinished business, and there is still a lot for me to accomplish as a student-athlete at the University of Texas. After much prayer and talking to my family, I have decided to forgo the 2021 NFL draft, take my extra year of eligibility and return to the 40 acres to graduate in May and play my last football season as a Longhorn! Let’s get active!”

A Missouri native, Jones originally committed to Oklahoma during his time at Butler CC, but eventually flipped to Texas and signed in the 2019 recruiting class. A consensus four-star prospect, Jones was ranked as the top junior college strong-side defensive end and the No. 17 junior college player nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

As a junior, Jones was a rotational player who appeared in 11 games with 14 tackles and one forced fumble. In 2020, he served as the backup to Moro Ojomo at defensive end. Jones missed the season opener against UTEP, but appeared in the final nine games and gave the Longhorns more athleticism than Ojomo off the edge, logging 29 tackles, two tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one quarterback hurry, and one pass breakup.

So there’s some potential untapped upside for Jones under new defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, especially if Kwiatkowski prioritizes athleticism over size at the position.