Coach Spotlight: Christion Jones
"That spring (of 2007) we put him in the slot, and he scored a touchdown in our first scrimmage and was then kind of pushed to the way side to offense," said Cook. "As a sophomore we put him over on defense became a starter playing free safety and cornerback. They tried picking on him at first, but then he showed he was a player to be reckoned with by making some big interceptions. He was raw back then, but you could see he had pretty good range and ball skills."
Jones' junior season was really his breakout year at Minor. He made 65 tackles and seven interceptions and also rushed for more than 500 yards. The Alabama Sportswriters Association named him 1st team (6A) as an Athlete. Minor made the playoffs for the second straight year under Cook.
"In his second game as a junior in a game against Bryant," said Cook, "Christion was just one week back for having surgery on his thumb and had a great game. It was then I knew he was on his way to being a special player by displaying that kind of toughness and fortitude."
Halfway through his senior senior, Jones decided to pull the trigger and become part of the 2011 University of Alabama recruiting class over scholarship offers from Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, and Notre Dame. Recruiting experts argue if Jones will play safety or cornerback at the next level. Coach Cook believes he may have a third option.
"Christion covers so much ground as a defensive back," said Cook. "He goes hash-to-hash. He does an accurate job reading his key, the high or low hat. I think he'll probably be a cornerback, but I'd give him a look on offense and special teams. He rushed for over 1,100 yards as a senior in 6A ball and returned three kicks for touchdowns. He could play slot receiver in college."
Cooks says they lined Jones up this year at H-Back, slot, and X-receiver to create mismatches and as a decoy.
"Looking back at our games," Cook said, "when we got the ball in Christion's hands 20 to 25 times a game, we won. When we didn't, we usually lost."
Jones, 5-11, 175, lives in the Birmingham area where his father is a preacher. He is doing well in classes with 2.7 GPA in core studies and 3.1 GPA overall.
"Christion's a regular kid," said Cook. "He likes music and chilling with his friends. At times he can be a bit gregarious."
Although pleased with having coached a player of Jones' ability, Cook wasn't happy with the way the Minor Tigers season went at 5-5 and missing the state playoffs.
"We stunk," Cook said of the season. "Christion did enough though that I'm sure he'll be a unanimous All-State selection. He was invited to the Alabama-Mississippi All-State game, but pulled out due to injury."
In the off-season Jones plans to play basketball and work on improving his grades as he prepares himself for a May graduation from Minor and arrival in Tuscaloosa in June.
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