Healthy Outlook

<b>Willie Jones, Jr.</b> a former standout at Miami Carol City and the son of former Florida State and Oakland Raiders defensive end <b>Willie Jones</b>, has been plagued by injuries since arriving in Tallahassee. Jones missed his freshman season with a knee injury and sat out last year when he suffered a torn left Achilles tendon. Well, Jones is recovered and healthy as the Seminoles open practice on Monday. Click here for an update.

Willie Jones says he's not superstitious.

He's just hoping for a little luck this season, that's all.

After Florida State's final conditioning session earlier this week, a smiling Jones couldn't help but contain his enthusiasm.

Jones is hoping for a breakout season as well as an injury-free one as the Seminoles open practice on Monday.

"I can't even think about it," Jones said and laughed.

"When I tore my Achilles, I was just running and it popped. When I had my knee surgery, I was just stretching across the field and I tore my knee up. I can't do anything to prevent it but I just hope that (injury) bug don't hit me again in two-a-days. I am ready to go. I can't wait."

The personable Jones has been plagued by bad luck since arriving at FSU from Miami Carol City High School in 2001.

Jones sat out his first season after injuring his knee in a post-season high school game. He saw limited action in spring drills following arthroscopic knee surgery.

In 2002, Jones played in seven games at defensive end, backing up Kevin Emanuel and Eric Moore. He finished with four tackles, including two for loss.

Then disaster struck again.

Jones tore his Achilles last year during one-on-one blocking drills prior to a Seminoles' scrimmage in Doak Campbell Stadium. He entered drills third on the depth chart at defensive end but was in the mix for quality playing time.

Jones has since recovered from his Achilles injury as well as minor knee surgery last spring. He was a regular participant at conditioning drills as he continues to round into shape.

"I am feeling good, just being out there running and being injury-free right now," Jones said. "That has been the thing that has been messing with me. But I feel good.

"I have fully recovered. I feel fine right now. It's not bothering me. Right now the main thing is getting back in shape. Getting my wind back and getting my balance and coordination back. I feel good about getting back in shape."

Jones, 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, says he weighs around 250 pounds.

He wants to play between 240 and 243.

"I still feel a little heavy," Jones said.

"At first I wanted to stay at 250 because it looks good but in reality, it's not doing anything for me. Speed wise, I don't think my speed is all the way back. But I still have my quickness. I still feel real quick."

Jones made the difficult switch at FSU from linebacker to end, where he struggled initially due to a lack of weight and overall strength. However, he has improved in both areas and enters practice behind Moore on the depth chart.


Nole Digest Top Stories