UK Football

UK linebacker says adding 22 pounds of muscle ahead of NFL Draft won’t slow him down

Kentucky’s Jordan Jones said he has stayed in Lexington to prepare for the NFL Draft. “They get paid to do this year round, to train us. ... I just felt like it was a smart decision for me to stay.”
Kentucky’s Jordan Jones said he has stayed in Lexington to prepare for the NFL Draft. “They get paid to do this year round, to train us. ... I just felt like it was a smart decision for me to stay.” jmoore@herald-leader.com

Jordan Jones has spent some time in the weight room.

Jones, a linebacker, said he has put on 22 pounds of muscle in the two months between the end of Kentucky’s football season and the NFL Combine. He weighed in at 234 pounds, 16 pounds heavier than his was listed on UK’s roster.

The additional weight has raised concerns from teams about the former three-star recruit’s speed, and that’s the top thing he intends to address during his drills on Sunday.

“I think a few people are worried about if I can still run with that weight, and I’m here to prove everyone wrong and prove me right,” Jones said during a media session Saturday. “I’ve still got my speed, that’s not going nowhere.”

Jones started 33 games for UK and played in 42. He started the first 12 games of his senior season — playing the last four with a broken hand — before a suspension prevented him from playing in the VRBO Citrus Bowl.

That was the coda on an up-and-down career for Jones. As a sophomore, he ranked third in tackles among all Southeastern Conference players and was a second-team All-SEC selection. Jones was productive as a junior but was also at the center of several on-field and off-the-field controversies; his senior season was unblemished until the end.

Jones “kinda dropped the ball” academically, resulting in the Citrus Bowl suspension, he told reporters Saturday.

“I was so invested in football at the time. We had one of the best seasons UK’s ever had and I was invested in football, and that wasn’t an excuse to drop the ball in school,” Jones said. “I had to live with those mistakes.”

Jones was thankful that UK afforded him the opportunity to grow from his miscues.

“I got in a little bit of trouble in the beginning of my years, and I had a chance to redeem myself after that,” Allen said. “I feel like when they gave me that other chance, I definitely capitalized and made my image a little better. ... I just love football. It’s my number one love and I have realized I didn’t want that taken away from me due to off-the-field stuff, and stuff that would get me in trouble. I definitely had to grow, and I did that.”

Jones said he has met informally with 15 to 20 teams, including the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers. He has stayed in Lexington to train with UK coaches Corey Edmond and Mark Hill ahead of the draft.

“They get paid to do this year round, to train us. They trained Josh (Allen). They made Josh into what he was,” Jones said. “I just felt like it was a smart decision for me to stay. I felt like it was unnecessary for me to go and spend money somewhere else when everything I needed was at Kentucky.”

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Josh Moore is in his first year covering the University of Kentucky football team and in his fifth year reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he’s been employed since 2009. Moore, a Martin County native, graduated from UK with a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication and English in 2013. He’s a huge fan of the NBA, Power Rangers and country music.
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