There weren't many out there that expected former Miami Central defensive tackle Fred Jones to make an impact at Florida State. The nephew of All-American linebacker Marvin "Shade Tree" Jones was rated as a 3-star and the No. 81 defensive tackle in the country, but Florida State defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins saw something that no one else did and it has paid off.
Jones has been a big contributor behind starters Derrick Nnadi and Nile Lawrence-Stample in just his second season. His stat numbers don't jump off the page at just 8 tackles and 1 tackle for loss, but he's made an impact that doesn't show up on the stat sheets. He provided solid depth that allowed Nnadi and Lawrence-Stample to get rest when they needed it without a huge drop off in production. That was something that they didn't have in 2014.
Jones cites his lack of expectations as motivation for what he has been able to do this season.
"I used it as motivation because a lot of people always doubted me ever since I was growing up," Jones said. "Saying I won’t be able to do stuff. So it motivated me to do better. Push me harder."
He has come a long way from high school to now, and his hard working mentality is what has allwed him to succeed at this level.
"Just working out hard," Jones said. "Going to practice ready to practice. Don’t ever let how tired you are affect you mentally."
Redshirt senior Defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample praised not only Jones' work ethic, but also his character for his performance this season.
"I think it says a lot about his character as well as his work ethic," Lawrence-Stample said. "Just him being able to perservere. Seeing the people in front of him and just trying to work hard and reallytry to get in the rotation, which he has. So I think it's about his work ethic and character."
With Lawrence-Stample moving on next season, Jones will have a chance to get even more playing time next season. He's set his sights on something else for the offseason though.
"The plan is to do the best I can and get bigger, stronger, and faster," Jones said.
It's a credit to him and coach Odell Haggins for the progress that Jones has made this season. He will definitely be a player to watch going forward.