Julio Jones Has Many Abilities

Editor's Note: A.P. Steadham, who ordinarily covers athletes who have completed their Alabama careers and gone on to professional sports success in football, basketball, baseball and the like, has a family background in Baldwin County. That led to his interest in Julio Jones of Foley High School. He has covered all the bases in delving into the life of Julio Jones. This is the third report.

Julio Jones is a physically imposing high school football player standing 6-feet, 4-inches tall and weighing 215 pounds with sub-par 4.4 speed combined with superior agility and quickness.

The incredible strength on the tall, angular frame has been achieved through his dedication in the weight room. Bench pressing more than 300 pounds since the spring of his sophomore year, he power cleans 345 pounds along with squatting 505 pounds.

Academically, he has scored a 20 on the ACT while maintaining a 3.0 GPA and has passed his graduation exam. Maybe only his competitive nature surpasses his superior physical attributes.

The coaching staff voices enough superlatives about Julio's abilities to rival a suitor's flattering comments hoping to charm the cotillion queen.

"On the field, I think everybody sees what you like about him is how explosive and how good of a player he is and how he can take over a game, said Foley Offensive Coordinator David Faulkner.

"He's not just a route runner and a catcher, but he likes to block and do all those little things. Just turn on the tape and watch him. It's pretty obvious what you like about him."

Julio's versatile running style can sometimes replicate his boyhood idol, Barry Sanders, presenting a daunting dilemma for the opposition as Faulkner explains, "He's a guy if you just try to be physical with him, he can elude you but yet if you try to compensate for his elusiveness, he will run over you."

"I think what he does best is he has the ability to break tackles and gain yards a lot of times when there's not a whole lot of there. He can put you in a bind as a defender if you are trying to get him down or penned up. He has so many qualities that a guy his size usually doesn't have. He's a very rare individual."

Shane Jones, coaching him since his sophomore year celebrates his work ethic.

"The kid is a hard worker," he said. "He's a joy to coach. He's usually the first one there and the last one to leave practice. He gives everything he's got every time he's on the field."

Wide receivers are seldom lauded for their non-receiving skills yet Julio demonstrates an ancillary attribute that a football coach loves, according to Shane Jones.

The coach said, "The one thing he does very well that you don't pay attention to unless you are coaching is his blocking. He's one of the best blockers I‘ve ever been around. Once he gets his hands on you, it's over because he is so strong."

Born February 8, 1989 at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, Quintorris Lopez Jones came to his mother when he was five years old and proclaimed his dream to be a football player.

Nicknamed Julio by his mother, his introduction to organized football began at the age of 12 playing city league ball.

Todd Watson's first year as head coach saw the sophomore transition from his early years as a running back to receiver where he caught 51 passes for 805 yards and 12 touchdown receptions in a wide open spread attack perfectly suited to his skills.

The junior year numbers rose to 75 catches for 1,301 yards and 15 touchdown receptions. Nursing an ankle injury and constant special defensive coverages impacted his senior year as he caught 68 passes for 1,181 yards and 16 touchdowns receiving.

He accounted for 1,657 all-purpose yards averaging 16.9 yards per touch for the 12-1 Foley Lions who reached the 6A quarterfinals before being eliminated by the eventual champion Prattville Lions. Among some of the school's career records he holds are for receptions (194), pass receiving yardage (3,287) and total touchdowns (52).

His legend began to spread nationally during the summer of 2006 as he competed in the Hoover 7-on-7 passing tournament. Dominating defenders with his acrobatic catches, his confidence was fortified by succeeding against some of the top teams from the Southeast.

Deciding the rest of the world should be acquainted with his exploits, Foley team videographer, Chris McClantoc, assembled highlights shown on the website You Tube which has surpassed 140,000 views.

You can see him leaping over defenders; grabbing passes above outstretched hands, pirouetting around clusters of would be tacklers and flirtatiously tip-toeing down the sidelines as he eludes teams for touchdowns. Breaking out into the open field on a punt return his long loping stride separates him from the pursuing opposition as they gradually concede the chase.

Corralled by defensive backs, he extends his long, powerful arm to ward off their clutches, leaving them grasping armfuls of air along with frustration.

Nationally, the ESPN2 telecast provided another 214,000 (.2 rating) households a chance to witness the spectacular exhibition displayed by the top ranked receiver.

All mythical athletes have an Achilles vulnerability to their game and Julio vigorously addressed those concerns.

"The thing we had to work on since day one these last three years has been his route running," Shane Jones said. "He listens to everything--what's going on in meetings and on the field. You don't have to tell him but once, and he grasps the defensive coverages."

"He runs great routes and has great hands. He has so much speed and torque that once he comes out of the break he turns it to another gear. You think it's fast then all of a sudden he comes out of a cut and the defensive back is standing there looking for him because he's gone."

Offensive Coordinator David Faulkner explains the cautious superstar's mannerisms, "Off the field you'll find with Julio, he is very soft spoken. He has to be real comfortable with the company he's around in order to really see his personality or his lighter side. Other than that setting, he's very quiet, and he's a very humble young man."

Although prone to recoil from attention, a playful nature is apparent among his peers as Faulkner states, "I think the thing that people don't know about Julio is he does have a great sense of humor. He has the ability to joke around and laugh with the guys. So many people see him in his interviews, and around he's very low key. He is a low key kind of kid, but he does have the ability to cut up."

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