We've said it before, but no player has been harder to read than Venice (Calif.) defensive back Jonas Mouton. Most agree the finalists are USC, Michigan and LSU but after that, it's been a crap shoot. Even his coaches and friends can't agree who leads for Mouton but the hard hitting safety may have given a small clue following Tuesday's CaliFlorida Bowl practice.
Mouton, 6-2, 210 pounds has had a solid week of practice and is one of the hardest hitters on the team. The safety is very good playing down hill and loves to run and hit. He's strong against the run but does need some work in coverage if he wants to stay at safety in college.
"I think he could play linebacker but he wants to play safety," Cali DB coach Martin French said. "I've known Jonas since he was in junior high so I feel like I'm pretty qualified to talk about him. He's a hitter and his first reaction is always to come forward.
"When he has to play in space, he can get lost but I think he can still play strong safety in college if he's used the right way. He's a lot like Roy Williams (Oklahoma, Dallas Cowboys) and if I was coaching him, that's how I would use him. I love him as a player. He has that tough guy mentality and won't back down from anyone and when he gets a chance to take his shot, he takes it."
On the recruiting front, Mouton has always played it close to the vest and doesn't even like to compare the schools he's interested in to one another. He has loosened up a bit this week and may have given a slight hint on who his current leader is after one of the practices.
About six or seven of the players, some USC commits and others USC leans, were in a group together talking about where they were going to school. As each of the players stated USC was their leader, a few, including Mouton, gave the Trojan victory sign (two finger salute as they were calling it), and said 'USC baby.'
Later on, we caught up with Mouton and jokingly asked him if that meant something. At first, Mouton tried to deny even making the gesture but when everyone around him burst out in laughter, he replied, "I was just messing around with those guys, I'm still wide open."
Mouton said he still plans to wait until Signing Day before he makes his decision so everyone will have another month or so to find out if USC, LSU or Michigan is able to land the hard hitting defensive back.