Jones-ing To Play

Jason Jones has been through a lot in his brief time at Ole Miss, but now he's getting a chance to show what he's got at defensive end. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss sophomore Defensive End Jason Jones certainly looks the part.

6-2, 250 pounds, cut body. . .good enough speed that he was signed as a linebacker our of Westover HS in Albany, GA.

But for one reason or another, until recently he hasn't been able to make the impact he desired on the Rebel team.

"It didn't work out for him at linebacker, then we moved him to end where he was doing OK before tearing up his knee in 2009 in the season opener against Memphis," said Coach Houston Nutt. "After a long rehab, he got ready for spring training, but then had hamstring problems.

"August was really the first time we have seen him healthy since he's been at D-End."

While Jones was rehabbing, he took advantage of his time in the weight room. Knowing his destiny was defensive end, he knew he needed to bulk up and went from 230 pounds to 250.

Jason Jones

Even healthy, however, Jones has had a hard time cracking the lineup.

After spring training, it appeared the DEs were set with Kentrell Lockett and Gerald Rivers on one side and Wayne Dorsey and Cameron Whigham on the other.

There was also an early flurry of enthusiasm over signees Carlos Thompson and Delvin Jones.

Jason appeared to be the odd man out.

College football, though, is a brutal sport, and it's not very merciful when it comes to injuries. Anyone at any time can fall victim and it just so happens the DEs at Ole Miss have had their share.

First, it was Lockett, who had heart issues early in the year and then tore an ACL when he did return. Then Whigham had some health issues that set him back. Most recently, it was Rivers' turn, currently sitting out with a bum ankle.

Enter Jones in the Auburn game.

Jason promptly scooped up a Cameron Newton fumble and returned it into Tiger territory.

"I tried to scoop it with one hand so I could score, but I didn't get it with my first try, so then I used two hands to make sure I got the fumble," he explained.

Now, as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns head to Oxford, it appears as if Jones will get his first career start, or at the very least play a lot of snaps.

"Since the first of the season, I have had a motto - be ready when your number is called," Jones stated. "I got a little action early, but now it looks like I am going to get more. I'm ready."

Jason says his confidence and knowledge of the schemes is improving and he's anxious for the opportunity to show that.

"I'm getting better. As you build knowledge, you gain confidence and can play faster," he explained. "I'm turning loose more now. When I was a freshman, I tried to be too perfect and it locked me up some.

"Now, I'm watching more film and figuring out quicker what's coming my way. It's so important on this level to know your assignments. You have to be precise out there. I know it looks like mayhem and that 11 guys are just running to the ball, but there's way more to it than that."

Jason has also gotten more comfortable with the added weight he put on.

"I'm definitely stronger, but I'm still adjusting to it from a conditioning standpoint. I get tired a little quicker than when I was 230, but I'm getting better every day," he noted. "I'm eating better and taking better care of myself and that's paying off."

Jones' goal is to make an impact in the game this week so he can prove some things to his coaches and earn more playing time in the future.

"You never want to see anyone get hurt on your team, but you also have to look at your chance, no matter how it comes around, as your opportunity to make a statement," he closed. "That's what I want to do - make a statement."

Even though he's just a sophomore, Jason Jones feels like he's been waiting an eternity to help his team.

The wait is over.

OM Spirit Top Stories