Jones considered signing with home-state Virginia Tech after being named a first-team all-state selection his senior year at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake. Jones ultimately picked Pitt after long-time Hokies head coach Frank Beamer announced his retirement. Jones redshirted in 2016 after enrolling a semester early, then made some contributions as a backup pass rusher in 2017 (23 tackles, 7.5 for loss, with four sacks in 10 games). Jones took another step forward his junior year, garnering second-team All-ACC honors by tying for the team lead with 12 tackles for loss (43 total stops, 8.5 sacks) and tying for fourth in the FBS with four forced fumbles in 13 starts. The Associated Press named him a second-team All-American in 2020 after he tied for fifth in the FBS with nine sacks in 11 starts. Jones also posted 44 tackles, 13 for loss, and three pass breakups on the year, combining with Rashad Weaver to give opposing quarterbacks game-long headaches.