Julio Jones: Alabama Crimson Tide Receiver Living Up to the Hype

John ChisholmContributor IAugust 18, 2009

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 08:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide has a pass broken up by Chris Hawkins #29 of the Louisiana State University Tigers on November 11, 2008 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Tide defeated the Tigers 27-21 in overtime.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

How many times have you seen a talented, highly recruited high school player come in to Division I football and not live up to the hype?

Lots of times, right?  But not this time, and not this player.

Julio Jones has far and wide lived up to the hype surrounding him ever since the day he signed to play with the Crimson Tide.  Even though he was a standout player at Foley, Ala., little did Alabama fans know what he would become in just a very short time.

Julio led Alabama with 58 catches for 924 yards and four touchdowns.  The 6'4", 211-pound Jones is known for not going down on first contact, and not many times goes down on second contact either.  He was a running back until ninth grade, and he gives credit to that by helping him have better vision because of the levels of players he had to go through to get in the clear.

Now he has only one level to clear—the secondary.

"Those guys [cornerbacks] are smaller, too, than linebackers.  They shouldn't be able to tackle me."

It seems that praise for Julio not only comes from fans, but from fellow players as well that face him on a regular basis.

"Julio's a freak, one in a million," said Alabama sophomore linebacker Dont'a Hightower, shaking his head with admiration.  "When he catches the ball, he turns up the field so fast.  If you weren't in that lane, you were either run over or you would miss him."

Jones also ended the season with injuries.  He suffered a sports hernia against Georgia, as well as other injuries to the wrist and shoulder, which all required offseason surgery.

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban was also one to join in on the praise of the freshman receiver.

“He demonstrated tremendous physical and mental toughness to overcome those things,” Saban said.  “The way he competed and played in the LSU game is unbelievable.  It would be nice to have a lot of young players sort of watch some of that and see that effort and see that toughness.”

There is one thing for sure: he has made a name for himself, not only in the state of Alabama, but all over the nation, when you talk about receivers.  He has a work ethic, and a don’t-quit attitude that demands respect of his teammates, and also from the players that line up across from him on Saturday afternoons.

Julio said of not being 100 percent toward the end of last season, "My teammates weren't going to quit on me, so why would I quit on them?"

With that said, there are no questions his hype was well deserved.


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