Though the looming NFL Draft decisions of junior wide receivers Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson has garnered plenty of publicity, they aren’t the only Texas Longhorns weighing whether or not they should return for their season season.
Junior safety Brandon Jones is entertaining the idea of playing for a paycheck next season as well, and after requesting his NFL Draft grade and an NFL advisory committee, Jones received encouraging news.
“I got my grade back. I was pleased with the feedback from them,” Jones said via the Sugar Bowl, though he didn’t disclose what the grade was. “Overall, my biggest focus is getting ready for Georgia and getting ready for that, and letting that stuff happen after the game.”
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Jones added. “Probably sometime after the game, I will get with my family and my coaches and discuss what the best thing is for me and my family.”
After his most recent game, Texas’ 39-27 Big 12 title loss to Oklahoma, Jones hinted at his desire to return to Texas next season, saying, “I know what we have and what we’re capable of doing so I really want to be a part of that next year,” and later adding that he wants to become a team captain. Moments later when asked about his future again and whether or not he was leaning towards returning to Texas, Jones outright said, “Yeah, I want to be able to... this is not a good feeling, in my opinion. Just want to be able to hopefully get back [to the Big 12 Championship] and have bigger outcomes.”
Nearly a full month later, just days before what could potentially be his final outing as a Longhorn, Jones echoed those sentiments, despite his encouraging draft grade.
“Just knowing what we have done so far on this team and to see the type of the people we will have on this team,’ said Jones. “We have a lot of younger guys that do not have a choice but to come back. Overall, I think we are going to be a really good team next year, and it would be really fun to get a chance to get to play with them again next year.”
If Jones does elect to don burnt orange for one final season in 2019, he’ll serve as Texas’ leading returning tackler after totaling 66 stops this season, in addition to 5.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, and one interception, despite being plagued by injuries down the stretch.
As is, the Longhorns are set to lose several starters on defense, as the entire defensive line of Charles Ominihu, Chris Nelson, and Breckyn Hager, linebackers Gary Johnson and Anthony Wheeler, cornerbacks Kris Boyd and Davante Davis, and nickel back P.J. Locke III are all seniors.
If Jones, too, departs in pursuit of a professional opportunity, Texas will be tasked with replacing nine of its 11 defensive starters and five of its top six leading tacklers.
Jones has until Jan. 15 to make a final decision regarding his future next season.