I have to preface this by saying that I'm not the kind of guy who watches a ton of college football. The trade-off is that my wife allows me to watch football every single Sunday all day during the fall. That said, I'm able to sneak a few college games in, and we generally catch most of the Wisconsin Badgers' games since we live in Madison. So this past season, the Badgers went into Lansing to play Michigan State, sporting a 4-0 record after beating up on some cream puffs. This was their first division game, and they were coming off of a 70-3 thrashing of, ahem, Austin Peay.
The announcers were hyping both teams and for good reason, and I am pretty sure it was Brent Musberger who said to keep an eye on linebacker Giants were weak at linebacker.of Michigan State. Yeah, okay. It's Brent Musberger, right? Well, let me tell you, this guy made an impression on me. Granted, it was a big game, and it was the only time I watched Michigan State play all year. But Jones was all over the field, having a sick nose for the ball, the kind of instincts you just love to see in any defender. I remember thinking after the game (which Michigan State won 34-24) that I had to look up Jones. Indeed, he was a senior. And the
Fast-forward to last week's NFL Draft. I figured Jones was a second or third round pick, according to most of what I read. But then somehow his stock dropped because hedidn't impress coaches at the combine or during Senior Bowl week. Our own Ed Valentine still projected him as a second-rounder, and so did several other draft-centric sites. Here is a video that I don't think does Jones justice, but you can see him in action nonetheless. So when I was asked to cover the last few rounds of the draft, the first thing I did was to see where Jones was picked. Still not picked, and we were midway through Round 6. I kept thinking either Jones would go undrafted or that another team would swipe him right before we could. But then Jerry Reese pulled the trigger on Jones with the 185th pick in the draft, and I went crazy. My wife and son were not home, and my cat probably couldn't describe my reaction to you, but I was ecstatic. I know that Jones wasn't as highly regarded as Akeem Ayers or, obviously, several other linebackers in the draft, but I'm telling you guys -- I saw this kid play and he is special. I think he's going to surprise a lot of people -- if not right away, definitely within a year or two.
He is the first Michigan State player in 45 years to win back-to-back first-team All-American honors, and Jones' numbers speak for themselves.