ScoutTV: Chris Jones Interview

ScoutTV: Gene's Page talks one-on-one with Mississippi State sophomore defensive lineman Chris Jones.

Just about everybody in the media are talking to you about this year's team and about you as a player. I want to do something different. Let's talk about your high school career. You started your football career at Nettleton High School. When did you actually start playing football there?
"I am originally from Houston (Mississippi) but moved to Nettleton my 4th grade year and stayed there until my sophomore year. But I started playing when I was in the 7th grade. I was playing offensive tackle."

You are probably going to be a super star defensive lineman and you were playing offensive lineman in high school?
"Yeah, I was a big, chubby kid then. I was like 270 with a gut and couldn't move at all."

How long did you play football at Nettleton?
"I played football until I was a sophomore."

Then, in your 10th grade year you thought you were a basketball player, right?
"Yeah, I stopped playing football. Watching Kobe Bryant I thought I was Paul Pierce. I started calling myself The Truth (Pierce's nickname). I fell in love with basketball and started playing AAU ball, traveling across the world, the country. I was traveling to Alabama and I was about to go to Australia and play basketball. I just fell in love with it."

But you are at MSU playing football. So, what happened after that 10th grade year?
"After the 10th grade year, I didn't make all of my workouts in Nettleton and unfortunately I wasn't able to make the (football) team. I then moved to Houston but I couldn't play half of the season due to the MHSAA (transfer) rules and regulations. I played (the) last six games (of the season)."

I saw you play in a few of those six games. You didn't really look like a 5-star player during those games. But you didn't even get to practice with the team during the first half of the season because your head coach wanted players who were going to play in actual games practicing. Due to that, you got pretty far behind. You weren't anywhere near the Chris Jones that you became your senior season. If you were doing a recruiting service, what star ranking would you have given yourself based on your junior season?
"If I were doing recruiting I would have given myself a two-star at the time because I didn't know anything. I was still working out and trying to stay in shape but I couldn't practice or work on anything. I was just out there looking around and I had fallen way behind."

After your junior season you came to the Mississippi State football camp and received an offer from them. Talk about receiving that offer and how much of a surprise it was to you. Also, talk about why you decided to go ahead and commit so quickly.

"Before I came (to MSU) my coach told me to just ball out and that he knew that I could get an offer. I came up here thinking about that. And they offered me and I was just shocked.

"And I felt comfortable visiting Mississippi State. I felt comfortable and it was close to home. I felt like I was at Houston because they are maroon and white, too. The only thing that is different is we are (called) the Hilltoppers. I felt more comfortable with Mississippi State."

Then you blew up on the field your senior season. You went from being a, as you felt, a two-star - we felt you were a three-star - to a five-star recruit. Was all the attention that you received a little overwhelming during that season?
"I never (paid) attention to all the attention, all the hype. I just wanted to play hard. I was just so excited to be able to play football again, man. I felt like I missed a lot not playing my junior year. I was so excited to be back on the field I was just going to give it my all."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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