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2019 C Jared Jones signs NLI with Northwestern

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Jones will likely have to step into a big role in his first season in Evanston.

@NUMensBball

Jared Jones, a 6-foot-9 center, signed his National Letter of Intent on Friday, officially cementing his spot as the much-needed third recruit to Chris Collins’ 2019 class that will be tasked with replacing a number of key graduating and transferring players.

Here’s what you need to know about the third signee of Northwestern’s 2019 class:

Who is Jared Jones?

The three-star prospect from Georgia and 186th overall recruit in the nation originally committed to Northwestern back in September 2018 and will round out (for now) Northwestern’s 2019 class alongside PF Robbie Beran and PG Daniel Buie. Jones orginially committed to Auburn before quickly decommiting and ultimately choosing Northwestern over offers from a host of solid SEC/ACC programs like Florida, Tennessee, Florida State and Virginia Tech.

Jones’ size isn’t anything to marvel over at 6-foot-9, 232 pounds, but that’s no smaller than what Dererk Pardon was listed as in his freshman season at Northwestern and we saw the type of player that Pardon was able to become in his four years.

What does this commitment mean for Northwestern?

The importance of Jones’ signing truly can’t be understated.

Barring Northwestern bringing in a grad transfer, Jones will likely be the only other center listed on the 2019-20 roster besides Ryan Young, who redshirted last season. The departure of Dererk Pardon and transfer of Barret Benson left Northwestern in dire need of a big man for next season, and Jones seems primed to become that guy in just his freshman season.

Other bigger bodies like Robbie Beran and Pete Nance will likely be tasked with stepping into “big man” roles at various points next season, but Jones is the true center prospect that Northwestern desperately needs. There’s no telling how a lack of experience and size will affect Jones in his freshman season, but at the very least he’ll give the Wildcats’ coaching staff a big body to work with and another much-needed option in the paint.

Furthermore, Jones’ signing officially puts Chris Collins’ class ranked as the 5th best in the Big Ten — NU’s highest ever ranking — as the program still hopes to add potential graduate transfers as well.