High School Stats
2003 SR 8 interceptions 60 tackles 19 passes broken up 2002 JR 6 interceptions 96 tackles 2001 SO 3 interceptionsLast year went well for Jones as he got substantial work in on the scout team. He was in the secondary along with fellow 2004 signees Carlos Armour and Lovon Ponder.
At 6-foot-1 and 187 pounds he possesses great size at the cornerback position mixed in with good speed. His combination of size and speed along with toughness make him one of the bright spots for the future of the Miami defense.
Spring practices began last Tuesday and Jones enjoyed the competition at cornerback--a position that returns four players who have played a substantial amount of time, Kelly Jennings, Devin Hester, Marcus Maxey, and Glenn Sharpe. Competition will be tough in the spring, but Jones looks forward to it.
"It has been challenging competing for postions on the defense," Jones said. "But I like it that way. We all have things to work on and things we want to improve upon."
As a young cornerback it is important for Jones to get a number of repititions in practice and utilize the time going up against the receivers. He is a physical corner that knows how to use his size to his advantage. He has drawn praise from the coaching staff for his improvement since he arrived on campus in August.
"I feel like I'm improving," Jones said. "But I'm not at the peak right now. There are things I want to work on to get where I want to be as a player."
In practice he has a variety of players that he goes up against including four big receivers in Ryan Moore (6-3), Lance Leggett (6-4), and Akieem Jolla (6-4), Khalil Jones (6-2). All four receivers test Jones with their size and speed.
"Going up against the bigger recievers I can be more physical at the line with them," Jones said. "They all help to make me better."
When Jones faces the smaller receivers, Darnell Jenkins, Sinorice Moss, and Terrell Walden, he must alter his strategy at the line a bit and become more of a cushion corner.
"When I go up against the smaller receivers I have to back off of the line a little bit and become more of a cushion cornerback because of their speed," Jones said.
The Miami secondary finished 9th in the nation last year in pass defense giving up 173 yards per game. A top 10 defense is great, but with five of their top six guys returning they want to improve on last year's mark.
"I think we can get better in the secondary as a whole," Jones said. "We have talent out there from the upperclassmen down to the guys that are still young."
Another young player looking to make an impact on the 2005 team is cornerback Carlos Armour. Armour and Jones are roommates that have developed a good relationship.
"I feel like our relationships has grown a lot from the first semester to the second semester," Jones said. "We get along real well and are good friends."
Both Armour and Jones had their redshirt pulled in the eighth game of the season and will be sophomores in 2005. Although they are competing for playing time with one another, Jones doesn't see it that way.
"We both will push each other to be better," Jones said. "We don't compete with each other. We just want to go out there and keep improving and the coaches will decide from there."
With Jones possessing good size there was talk of him playing safety at Miami, however he loves the cornerback position and the coaches feel he is better suited at that position.
"Ever since I was playing cornerback in middle school I always liked playing the position," Jones said. "It has been a passion of mine."
What makes the cornerback position so special?
"I love to destroy a wide receiver's route," Jones said. "He knows where he is going and it is a thrill to stop him one-on-one."
"That's my love."
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor at CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org