In a football season full of shortcomings both on and off the field, the Michigan State Spartans can take pride knowing that some players gave it their all for the sake of themselves and their teammates.
One of those players was linebacker Greg Jones, who has been named a first-team All American by the Associated Press.
Jones, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, also earned First-Team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), and CBSSports.com.
With 141 tackles, Jones led the Big Ten and was third in the FBS. He also ranks third in the FBS in tackles per game (11.8), tied for 23rd in sacks (0.75 per game), and tied for 43rd in tackles for loss (1.13 per game). He is also among the Big Ten leaders in sacks (fifth) and tackles for loss (tied for eighth at 1.12 per game).
Jones has been a subsequent superstar for the Spartans ever since he joined the program in 2007. There have never been any distractions with Jones, and he has simply let his play do the talking.
Not the biggest player on the field at 6’1”, Jones uses a mix of speed and intelligence to chase down quarterbacks and other skill players on opposing teams. The funny thing is that it seems like Jones never misses a tackle he is in position for—a truly dependable trait loved by coach Mark Dantonio and company.
As I stated earlier, Jones is the type of athlete young football players—and young men, for that matter—should empathize with and try to be more like.
He does good things on and off the field, being a role model in the community, for his peers, and for college football viewers. Such attributes aren’t so common in athletes nowadays.
Look at the Cincinnati Bengals’ Chris Henry situation. The guy had a rough start to his NFL career, getting into trouble consistently both on and off the field. Right when you thought he was turning things around, he gets into a domestic dispute and dies because of it.
Too many athletes in today’s world have forgotten how to be high-level athletes while displaying high marks of character at the same time, and that is definitely an area of both college and professional sports that should be examined more closely.
But when it comes to players like Jones, that just isn’t the case. He accomplishes great things on the field and off, and sometimes that type of temperament cannot be learned or acquired. Sometimes people just have “it.”
Jones definitely has it.