LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jordan Jones is an enigma of sorts.
He held a megaphone up to his mouth at Kentucky’s media day on Sunday — playfully directing photo opps — but as players clumped in their respective position groups for interviews, Jones was gone.
Kentucky’s star junior linebacker is punishing on the field and elusive off of it.
Jones’ question-avoiding antics are well documented. He declines post-practice interviews during the season. Once, after being named All-SEC second team, Jones did oblige — only he didn’t. He brought out fellow Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel as his interpreter.
“Any of you all’s questions that you ask will be answered by me,” Daniel said at the time. Jones proceeded to whisper every answer into Daniel’s ear.
Jones’ choice to stay quiet is his to make. In a way, it adds to the allure of Kentucky’s top linebacker. Jones led the Wildcats with 109 tackles a season ago and was picked to the preseason All-SEC third team at SEC Media Days.
Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson is glad he’s not lining up opposite Jones on fall Saturdays.
“If I saw Jordan I’d want to call the protection right to him every time or run the ball away from him,” Johnson said with a laugh. “He’s just on go 24/7. I’m glad we’ve got him on our team to make plays for us. I think he’s matured a lot even since last year being able to harness that energy.”
Coach Mark Stoops and his staff often describe some players as “Whoa guys” — players that need to be told to slow down rather than speed up.
“It’s a lot easier to say whoa than sick ’em,” defensive coordinator Matt House said.
It’s considered a good thing, and Jones is Kentucky’s ultimate “Whoa guy.”
“Especially when we have to go without shoulder pads for the first two days,” Stoops said on Sunday. “So, yeah. Yeah. Definitely.”
The coach had trouble finishing his thoughts on Jones, a player not fit for a simple description. Stoops once described Jones as, “wired very different.”
Jones was held out of Kentucky’s spring Blue-White Game because he missed a meeting. Stoops was asked if that sent a message.
“He gets the message because sometimes he’s lining up there at linebacker and I’m two feet behind him yelling in his ear the whole time during the rep so he’ll get it,” Stoops said. “He’ll get the message.”
Jones’ unpredictable demeanor is largely loved by his teammates. Because Jones didn’t participate in media day to field questions himself, SEC Country asked several of his teammates to describe Jones in whatever way they wanted.
Here are their responses.
“That boy just never gets tired. He was running around today with a megaphone when we were over there trying to take pictures. He’ll be the same way when we go to practice here in a bit … Jordan’s Jordan. He doesn’t cause any distractions and he comes in and works his butt off like anybody else. That’s why he’s the way he is. That’s just how Jordan’s wired.” — Kash Daniel, linebacker
“You won’t catch nobody better than Jordan Jones when it comes to running sideline to sideline. It’s just, as teammates, we’ve got to keep Jordan Jones on focus.” — Lonnie Johnson, cornerback
“He just brings energy to the team: practice, meetings, anything. That’s what we need for a team. People say he’s just wild and stuff like that, but that’s what we need actually.” — Mike Edwards, safety
“If you’re feeling bad, he’s going to come around and cheer you up. That’s what I like about him. Freshman year that was my roommate in the dorms so we got to be close. I know how he is, how he acts. On the field he’s a baller, off the field he’s your boy.” — Josh Allen, linebacker
“With him playing so fast sometimes you have to tell him to slow down because he gets there in a hurry. Sometimes that might not be a good thing, but for a player like him with his energy and his relentlessness, it’s awesome to have.” — Courtney Love, linebacker