|Jonas Mouton (#8) makes a tackle at Iowa|
Linebacker Jonas Mouton played his final game for Michigan on January 1 against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Coming out of high school in Venice, CA, Mouton was a very highly touted player. He was a 5-star recruit and the #6 safety in the country, according to Scout. Rivals ranked him a 4-star player and the #3 safety. At 6’2″ and already a solid 210 lbs. or so coming out of high school, it should have been clear that he would bulk up and become a linebacker. I’m not sure why Scout and Rivals didn’t catch on to that.
Mouton arrived at Michigan and almost immediately became a linebacker. He redshirted as a freshman in 2006 to learn the position and add some weight. After the redshirt year, he backed up Chris Graham at weakside linebacker in Ron English’s 4-3 system. That year (2007) he made 5 tackles at linebacker and on kick coverage. Once Graham graduated following the 2007 season, Mouton backed up Marell Evans for one game and then earned the starting WILL job in the second game against Utah. He finished the season with 76 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. As the incumbent in 2009, Mouton had a subpar year. The defense was abysmal, and the inside linebackers – Mouton and Obi Ezeh – constantly looked lost. Mouton ended the season with 66 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, and 4 pass breakups. As a fifth year senior in 2010, Mouton led the Big Ten in tackles with 117. He also had 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.
264 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 4 interceptions, 7 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries
2nd team All-Big Ten in 2010 . . . Roger Zatkoff Award (U of M’s best linebacker) in 2010
Mouton’s 4-star ranking on Rivals was a bit more accurate than Scout’s. He turned into a solid starter and even earned All-Big Ten 2nd team honors as a fifth year senior. However, I’m not exactly sure how a player leads the league in tackles, tosses in a couple sacks and interceptions, and doesn’t get 1st team all-conference status. If Michigan’s defense wasn’t the worst in the school’s history, I have to believe that Mouton would have been 1st team. In fact, if he played for Ohio State and put up those numbers, he might have been up for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. So the lack of respect might have to do with Michigan’s overall defensive performance. It also might have been based on Mouton’s underperformance. With all the speed and agility Mouton has, he didn’t make many spectacular plays. Aside from the interception against Notre Dame and his pass rush on the final play against Illinois, he looked like just a guy.
Mouton ought to play in the NFL. He has prototypical size (6’2″, 240 lbs.) and decent speed in order to play several positions. He could be an OLB or ILB in a 3-4, or he could be a weakside linebacker in a 4-3. The coaching at his linebacker position was subpar throughout most of his career, but Mouton still made mistakes as a senior that he shouldn’t have been making by that point. Still, I expect him to be a late round draft pick for a team that thinks they can coach him up.
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