Now spring practices begin, and Griffith has returned to practice. But, with the taste of the starting role the he got in seven games last season, Jones does not want to fall down the depth chart.
"I want to come out here and earn that starting position," said Jones after a very spirited practice. "That is what spring is all about. Getting to come out here, work hard and earn a spot."
He knows that he has the ability to play in the SEC, but Jones still understands that he has some of the toughest competition in front of him.
"It does not matter if you come out and work seven days a week, Justin is going to find a way to work eight," said Jones with a laugh. "There is just no way to outwork him.
"Having a teammate like Justin is great because he just pushes you to work as hard as you can go. And to have to compete against him for a job is just unreal. We really work well together, pushing and helping each other."
While only carrying the ball four times, and catching the ball five, Jones still showed flashes of brilliance. Other than blocking, he proved that he could fill the big shoes of Griffith as a receiver.
"Coming out of high school, catching really wasn't natural for me," said the Greenwood native. "But since I have really worked on that, it has become natural. I had to get my concentration up. Now I am ready to catch the ball."
While most MSU fans would not complain about the effort that Jones showed on the field last season, he saw room for improvement.
"The main thing I am working on this spring is my consistency," said Jones of his goals for this practice season. "At the end of games last season I started lacking on my fundamentals; mostly my pad level. I want to keep my pad level down, and keep my fundamentals sharp the whole game."
He might have seen weakness in his game, but during his time on the field last season there was not a lot that could stop Jones' progress. But early in spring practices he has been sidelined, but not because of lack of effort.
"I have a slight shoulder separation. A separation of the AC joint," said Jones. "I hope to be back soon. Definitely by the next scrimmage."
Last season was a letdown overall for the offense, and Jones knows where he fits into those plans. He now focuses on fixing those offensive problems.
"As a whole (running backs), we are really working on pass blocking. That was a problem for us last year," said Jones. "Not just everybody can pass block, so we know that if we can improve that area, we can help this offense."
While he can not compete on the field at the moment, Jones still has some very important goals for his time on the field. Some goals that would certainly help the entire team.
"I want to learn more everyday, get better every time I go out there," said Jones. "I want to improve as a player, but most of all as a teammate."
Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University and works as a sports reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.