Those plans were dashed Thursday.
Jones, a former standout at Miami Carol City and the son of former FSU and Oakland Raiders defensive end Willie Jones, suffered a torn left Achilles tendon and is lost for the season.
Jones was injured during one-on-one blocking drills prior to the Seminoles' scrimmage in Doak Campbell Stadium. Jones entered drills third on the depth chart at defensive end but was in the mix for quality playing time, according to defensive ends coach Jody Allen.
"I am devastated for Willie," Allen told TheTerritory Thursday night.
"He had simply a great summer and was one of the most dedicated players we had out there (conditioning drills). He had great focus and concentration and made all the sacrifices needed to get himself bigger and stronger. His focus was sharp and he came in with a lot of confidence. But Willie's a fighter and he will be back next year, you can count on it."
Jones, who sat out the 2001 season as a redshirt after injuring his knee in a post-season high school game, saw limited action in spring drills following arthroscopic knee surgery He's a former record-setting prep linebacker who set a state record with 32 quarterback sacks in 2000 and was credited with 168 tackles and eight fumble recoveries.
Jones made the difficult switch from linebacker to end, where he struggled initially due to a lack of weight and overall strength. However, Allen said Jones entered camp "in the best shape of his life and came in with so much confidence. Jon Jost (strength coach) said Willie had a great summer in terms of preparing himself for this season. It's really disappointing."
Jones' injury leaves the Seminoles' with five players, according to Allen, who should see considerable time this year -- starters Kevin Emanuel and Eric Moore and reserves Darrell Burston, Kamerion Wimbley and Chauncey Davis.
Incoming freshman D.J. Norris suffered a high ankle sprain Wednesday, but Allen said he needs Norris to prepare "like he's going to play this season. It only takes another injury or something to happen and your numbers are suddenly a concern."
FSU noseguard Jeff Womble suffered a torn Achilles tendon last season but was cleared for the start of drills and continues to round into shape.