Jones hopes for impactful senior year

In 2011, then linebackers coach Trent Bray said Anthony Jones had more ability than any other outside linebacker on the team, and that was a group featuring Brandon Magee, Colin Parker and Shelly Lyons. Yet, Anthony "Mississippi" Jones's Sun Devil career hasn't gone quite as planned. He has struggled to get extensive playing time during his first three years starting in only two games.

"It has not been what I want it to be," Jones admitted. "I've had some up and downs, but I feel like I am ready to go out and work, and do big things."

Last season, Anthony Jones said he bounced around the different linebacker positions looking for playing time. But this year, he is getting reps exclusively at the Spur position with a chance to solidify a starting role.

"I love Spur, that is my position, my natural position, a linebacker/safety. I can run with receivers, and I can play with the linebacker in the box if I have to," Jones said. "You get to fly around, blitz around the edge, you get to cover, a little bit of everything.

"You got to make sure you stay assignment sound. If you don't stay assignment sound, anything can cost you. I am responsible for a receiver, I got to help out a safety and I am responsible for the run."

Last season, Chris Young started at Spur, however after gaining some weight this off-season, it looks as if he is more likely to start at WILL linebacker this year. Jones said he isn't bitter about having to wait for his chance.

"I don't regret anything. God makes everything happen for a reason," Jones commented. "Whatever the reason is I am going to keep pushing forward."

During Friday's practice, Jones received most of the first team reps at Spur. However, fellow senior Grandville Taylor, sophomore Carlos Mendoza and Young have all received extended looks at the position during camp.

"There has been some competition," Jones said. "I am going to keep on fighting and the best man will win the job."

Linebacker is a position that the Sun Devils seem to be well-stocked at this season. Meaning, there are a lot of guys vying for a spot in the two-deep. Jones like being a part of such a talented group because it motivates you to work hard.

"It's a blessing man; you get to compete every day," Jones remarked. "You don't have any days to fall off. The day you fall off, that could be the day you lose your job. It gives me the drive to compete every day. I know there is the potential of somebody passing me up if I don't give it my all."

Jones added that he has a "positive outlook" on the competition at spur and feels that if he keeps pushing he said he is "ready to claim it and make it mine."

"I am just going to go to work, do what I have to," Jones said. "I know if I work my hardest, I will be the best for the position."

For the second straight year, Jones was named one of the "Dirty Dozen" for his excelling in the weight room this offseason. It's an accomplishment that he doesn't take for granted.

"It means a lot," Jones said. "I work my butt off in the offseason. To become the best person and the best player I can be."

It is nice to be named a member of the "Dirty Dozen" team, but on the football field, Jones is already known for having another title.

"Sip or Mississippi. Everyone calls me Sip. I am from Mississippi my sophomore year of high school with my mom. It has been with me every since," Jones said. "One of my coaches in high school gave me that name, and it stuck with me forever.

"That is a lifelong name, that's me now. Nobody calls me Anthony, it is Sip or Mississippi."

Being that he is a senior, this year marks the last time Jones will ever practice at Camp Tontozona, an experience he did relish in the last two summers.

"It has been fun, and tough, a little of both. You got to wake up, you're around your teammates all day, and there is always something going on," Jones said. "We are always doing team bonding. A little bit of everything going on."

On Thursday, Jones experienced one of the toughest aspects and most unforgettable moments of his visit to Camp Tontozona, climbing Mt. Kush.

"It was serious. That is a workout in itself, it (feels like) a whole practice," Jones said. "I walked up there, and I am one of the most in shape guys, but I was light-headed when I got up there. I had to sit down."

Tomorrow, the Sun Devils will hold their final scrimmage and head down back to Tempe. Even though he enjoyed his time at this ASU football landmark, Jones said he is excited to get back to campus.

"We have been out here a couple days grinding, but I'm ready to get back to Tempe and put in some work to play out next opponent," Jones said.

Time will tell is Anthony Jones will be lining up as a starter on September 5th.


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