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Ex-Kinnick JV player drafted by NFL’s Vikings

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 2, 2021

He only played at the junior-varsity level for Nile C. Kinnick in the fall of 2012, then transferred to the States where he finished out high school. Now, the consensus All-American edge pass rusher out of Pitt has been selected to play football at the highest level.

Patrick Jones II was picked Friday by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the NFL Draft in Cleveland. He was the 90th pick overall, the ninth defensive end selected and the fifth edge pass rusher drafted.

Jones, a 6-foot-5, 260-pounder, had 32½ tackles for losses the last three seasons, to rank third among Atlantic Coast Conference defensive ends.

He was named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Lott Impact Trophy, given to the national defensive Player of the Year. Jones’ Panthers went 6-5 overall last season and 5-5 in ACC play.

Jones was born at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan on Sept. 29, 1998, traveled the world as a Navy dependent and arrived at Yokosuka’s Berkey Field in August 2012, trying to land a spot with the Red Devils; he made the JV cut before his family transferred that December; Jones played the rest of his high school years at Grassfield (Va.).

“He reminded me of a kid that was just beginning to grow into his huge hands and feet,” said Dan Joley, Kinnick’s head coach of the last 12 years, about Jones. “He was an incredibly coachable and intelligent kid. He was kind and unassuming off the field, but aggressive on the field.”

Jones becomes the second former DODEA product drafted by the Vikings in the last two NFL Drafts, joining Kyle Hinton, formerly of Vilseck in Germany, who was taken in the seventh round with the 253rd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Division II Washburn (Kansas).

Other former DODEA-Pacific athletes who’ve been drafted by NFL teams include Tony Reed, out of Chofu High School in Tokyo in the early 1970s.

He played at Colorado before being drafted in the second round with the No. 37 pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1977 Draft.

Wesly Mallard played at Seoul American in the mid-1990s before finishing high school at Hardaway (Ga.). He walked on at Oregon, later earning a scholarship playing linebacker and special teams. He was selected by the New York Giants with the 188th overall pick in the sixth round by the New York Giants in the 2002 Draft. He and Reed each played five seasons in the NFL.

Receiver Matt Eaton, who played for Guam High through 2014, was signed as an undrafted free agent by Green Bay in 2019.