NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas
In the coming weeks leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, NEPatriotsDraft.com will continue to profile college prospects that potentially fit the needs and draft seating of the New England Patriots. In this 12th installment, we will take a closer look at the film behind Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones.
DaQuan Jones has lived through far more than double teams in his 22 years.
As Anna Orso powerfully detailed in The Daily Collegian last October, he’s lived through an impoverished childhood, which left him eating few warm meals and sleeping on couches while his family moved from one apartment to another. He’s lived through his mother’s addiction and incarceration, which granted his father full custody of him and his brothers even when long days at work didn’t make it easy. He’s lived through struggles in school and pressures from peers, which reminded him of the darker avenues he could have taken.
Those battles could have derailed him. They could have defined him. But with strong pillars supporting him and his internal strength to succeed, those battles brought out the best in him.
That was seen through athletics at Johnson City High School in southern New York, where Jones was captain of the basketball team and also part of the track and field team.
Measuring in at 6’3” and 302 pounds, he found an outlet on the football field as well.
He left his mark, setting an example as a captain and a standout on both sides of the ball. And after a junior year consisting of 70 tackles, three sacks and four fumble recoveries, the Wildcat found himself ranked as the No. 5 overall defensive tackle by Scout.com. He found himself ranked the No. 2 offensive lineman in the nation by Rivals.com. He found himself a predominant four-star recruit.
Soon after, Jones found himself with the opportunity to go to college. His talent had drawn scholarship offers from Boston College and six other Division I programs by the summer of 2009.