Jones Outruns Defense ... Almost

CLEMSON - Freshman wide receiver Marquan Jones turned to walk back into the locker room after speaking to reporters after Monday's scrimmage in Death Valley. Then Scotty Cooper walked by.

Normally there probably wouldn't be a lot of interaction between the two.

After all, Jones is a freshman wide receiver who has only been in school three months and Cooper, now a rising sophomore, is an outside linebacker looking to make his mark on defense next season.

However on this day, there was.

"I got you," Cooper said with a big grin.

"Hey, he's fast," Jones replied to a group of reporters.

Jones led all receivers with eight catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns in Monday's scrimmage and looked impressive the entire afternoon.

But he should have had three scores instead of two.

On what was the longest play of the two-hour scrimmage, Willy Korn found Jones open on a 15-yard crossing pattern downfield near the 35-yard line. After reeling in the pass, he made a move on a linebacker then cut towards the sideline, thinking he could have a chance to score.

About 10 yards later, it looked as though he was right. Jones was running full speed and the closest defender to him, another linebacker, was four or five yards behind him.

Problem was that linebacker was Cooper.

Cooper caught Jones from behind just when it looked like he had a clear path to the end zone around the 12-yard line.

"I turned around and looked behind me and I didn't see anybody there," said Jones with a laugh. "So I started to let up. Then all of a sudden he got me."

"No you didn't [let up]," quipped Cooper. "I got you."

"He is fast," admitted Jones again with a smile.

While Cooper may have won that battle, Jones is winning the war at avoiding a redshirt year later this fall.

The freshman out of Blythewood has been a steady performer this spring and has been routinely praised by head coach Tommy Bowden.

"To be honest with you, he's pretty consistent," Bowden told Monday afternoon. "His skills are pretty good. ... Once we get him locked into a position and once he gets consistent reps he's really going to help us this year."

And that was the plan all along for Jones: get to Clemson early, get accustomed to the academics, work hard this spring and play football this fall instead of watching from the sidelines.

So far, so good.

"It's been tougher than I expected," said Jones. "But I knew I would have to come here and work hard if I was going to play and I'm letting everything else around me take care of itself."

Now if he can just learn how to outrun linebackers to the goal line, he'll be in business. Top Stories