Jones happy to contribute at new position

Senior linebacker came back after two lengthy injuries to be a player for the Spartans.

After missing the first eight games of the 2011 season, Michigan State's Jairus Jones entered 2012 as the starting free safety.

He started the first six games before going down with another injury, which he said had him hitting rock bottom.

"You hit rock bottom when you get hurt a second time for a considerable amount of time," the senior said, "but luckily, I had that support system that could help me out."

Jones said his parents, sibling and teammates were an anchor him as he dealt with a second lengthy injury, but he said he never thought about giving up or thought it was too hard.

"I never thought it was too hard, but like there was a point where I was like should I keep playing because it was the second time," he said. "If I had gotten hurt again, I probably would have thought about it. It wasn't that low where it was too hard for me, but it was pretty low though."

Head coach Mark Dantonio said the Spartans were excited to get Jones as a recruit out of high school in Tampa, Fla.

"Through injuries, red shirting, et cetera, he hasn't played as much football," Dantonio said. "He's been a good player on special teams for us. We moved him down to linebacker in the spring, and I think I said at that time at the end of the spring, he was the one guy if you had to point to one guy who was a surprise.

"Now, we have some good players, but this guy really had a great spring and put himself in a position to play, it was Jairus Jones and I think you saw that Friday night."

Friday night, Jones had a coming-out party of sorts with two interceptions.

"I'm just happy I could finally make plays," he said. "I've been hurt for a while, a couple times and missed a lot of games since I've been here so it was just a good thing I could make plays and help out the team."

Jones, who spent the first four years of his career at safety, moved to linebacker this spring when the coaches pitched the idea.

"They were like, ‘How would you feel?" Jones said. "I was like, ‘Man, whatever I can do to get on the field, make some plays, I'm happy to do it.'"

When he left the defensive backs, he had left a hanging prediction that he made last season.

"I've told everyone I was the only in the DB room that didn't have a pick that had playing time," he said. "So, I told them, I was just playing around, when I get my first pick, I'm pitching it. Just joking around and it happened like that."

Jones fulfilled that against Western Michigan, when he pitched his first career interception back to Kurtis Drummmond – the current starting free safety – who ran it in for the score.

Defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett said it was awesome to see that from Jones – and to see him playing well.

"Another guy that is a smart football player that understands the game," he said. "Everybody wouldn't have done what he did. First of all getting the interceptions and looking to toss it to a guy and get a touchdown. So very smart football player, happy for Jairus."

After the injuries and bouncing back, Jones wouldn't say it felt the interception was everything coming full-circle, but he couldn't deny it felt good.

"It's just good that I finally got one," Jones said. "I should have had at least three of them by now, but it didn't happen so I'm happy I got it."


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