IU left tackle Caleb Jones is a big man — a very, very big man

Some afternoons, while inside Indiana’s meal room, offensive line coach Darren Hiller finds himself standing next to freshman Caleb Jones.

On those occasions, Hiller can’t help but marvel at the size of his new pupil.

“Golly, man,” Hiller said. “And he’s got that high top going right now. He looks like he’s 7-foot-2. I don’t know how tall he is, but jeez. He’s a big man.”

Officially, Jones is listed at 6-8 and 370 pounds. He cuts an imposing figure on the practice field, rising high above his teammates around him.

Jones is, indeed, a big man.

And the Hoosiers have big plans for his future.

Indiana is working Jones as its backup left tackle through the first six practices of fall camp. Although far from a finished product, he’s impressed his coaches and teammates with his agility and reach, setting high hopes for his potential on IU’s offensive line during the years to come.

As a prep standout at Lawrence North, Jones earned Class 6A all-state honors from the Associated Press during his junior and senior seasons.

“That dude is enormous,” IU sophomore left tackle Coy Cronk said. “Wow. I mean, that’s a massive human being.”

The fact that Jones is already moving well for his size bodes well for his potential future at left tackle. Hiller admits that he was pleasantly surprised — shocked, even — with Jones’ movements and feel for the position so early in camp.

Just as impressive to the IU position coach is how Jones is performing in conditioning drills.

“He’s a guy that, when we go out there and run, you’d think a guy that big would be way in the back,” Hiller said. “He’s keeping pace. Now, he’s not the first guy. But he’s not way back there. He’s not 15 yards behind everybody else. It’s really impressive.”

Of course, IU’s staff is still working on Jones’ body. Ideally, Hiller would like to see Jones eventually slim down to 335 pounds. Currently, the target weight for Jones is around 345 pounds.

“We’ve got about 20 more pounds,” Hiller said. “But that’s coming from 400. He’s well on his way, and he’s doing things we need him to do.”

Like not letting his size become a burden.

“As big as he is, wow, that man can move,” offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said. “He’s gonna be a really good football player.”

Cronk agrees.

“He moves great,” Cronk said. “He can bend when he wants to bend. He plays with an attitude out there. He’s gonna be a special ballplayer, there’s not a doubt in my mind.”

4 comments

  1. It is great to hear about Jones impressing coaches and players already. He has the size an frame to be a major player for IU over the next several years.

  2. I bet he gets plenty of playing time as a freshman. And if he’s focused and disciplined, he could be a starter by the end of the season. You can’t coach size. As for losing another 20 pounds, for a man his size, that could be achieved in two weeks.

  3. At Brebuef Prep I had a D1 OLman that was 6’8″ 315 and very athletic. He ended up playing at Boston College as a freshman and wasn’t the tallest player on that OL; he played G and the T was 6’10” 325lbs. Coach O’Brien believed in tall OL players, recruiting the best he could find.

    It will be interesting to see what direction this staff will take in recruiting the OL. So far, they seem to follow coach Frey’s concept of players 6’4″ and taller.

  4. On my HS football team, we had an offensive tackle that stood 6’8″ and weighed about 235 lbs. as a senior. He was a reliable three-year starter, but not anywhere close to being our best O-lineman or amongst the best ten players on the team. He was actually a better basketball player. So we were all a bit surprised by how many colleges recruited him and that he signed with Iowa State, where he started for three years, made first team All-conference two of those years and was drafted in the fifth round of the NFL draft. I ran into him during the summer before his Junior season in college and didn’t recognize him. He was simply enormous and weighed 315 lbs., most of which was muscle. He wasn’t recruited by all those schools because of his excellent performance in High School, he was recruited for his potential, for when his athleticism caught up with is size.

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