Florida State University Seminoles
Winter Park, Florida
Lake Howell High School
The Jones family has a long history with the Seminoles football program. Christian's father, Willie Jones Sr., was part of the team that Bobby Bowden inherited when he became head coach at Florida State in 1976. The four-time letter-winner was an All-American honorable mention as a junior and second-team choice as a senior defensive end in 1978.
Christian's brother, Willie Jr., was also a defensive end at Florida State, lettering three times as a pass rush specialist (2002, 04-05). It only seemed like a "right of passage" that Jones would follow his father and brother to the Tallahassee campus in 2010. He would leave the program accomplishing a feat that eluded his older family members — as a key contributor on a national championship team.
One of the top overall athletes on the team and FSU's unquestioned defensive leader, Jones has been the consummate team player, performing well at any task the coaches ask from him. As a true freshman, he led the special teams units in tackles while serving as those units' gunner. He moved into the starting lineup at strong-side outside linebacker fior his sophomore season and then shifted to the weak-side the following year, as the coaches wanted to capitalize on his speed.
Jones was again on the move as a senior, quickly adapting to the role most figure he will play in the National Football League, anchoring the defense and calling signals from the demanding middle linebacker position. Injuries that depleted his unit would see Jones return to strong-side linebacker for the second half of his senior campaign.
Before suiting up for the Seminoles, Jones was recognized as one of the best linebackers in the nation while starring for Lake Howell High School, where he recorded 326 tackles during his career. He received a four-star grade and was ranked fifth in the country at outside linebacker by Scout.com and ESPN.
The Super Prep All-American was also named the second-best outside linebacker in the nation and second-best player in the state, bestowing the honor of Super Prep Dixie Defensive Player of the Year after he recorded 126 tackles, including 12 for losses and four sacks as a senior. The previous season, he totaled 160 stops as a junior. He closed out his prep career by playing in Under Armour All-Star Game, taking home "extra" hardware as a member of the Orlando Sentinel All Central Florida team, in addition to receiving All-Seminole Athletic Conference Conference and Class 5A All-State recognition from the Florida Sports Writers Association.
Jones turned down scholarship offers from Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana State, Southern California, Miami and Michigan when he joined the Florida State program in 2010. As a true freshman, he led the special teams with eighteen tackles, adding three sacks playing strong-side outside linebacker with the second unit.
As a sophomore, Jones started all 13 games at that position. Having added over 15 pounds of muscle to his frame from his freshman campaign, he finished third on the team with 56 tackles, delivering three more sacks among his six stops behind the line of scrimmage. Both of his forced fumbles led to FSU touchdown drives.
Jones' move to weak-side linebacker in 2012 unleashed his explosive speed on ball carriers. The All-American second-team choice led the team with a career-high 95 tackles, which ranked seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference. All seven of his stops behind the line of scrimmage came on the final play of those drives and he also accounted for the only points scored by the FSU defense, when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown vs. South Florida.
Jones was one of two players suspended for the Bethune-Cookman game in 2013, but he opened the season as the starting middle linebacker in the new defensive scheme installed by coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Injuries forced Jones' speed to be used on the outside during the second half of the schedule, as he shifted to strong-side linebacker.
He finished the season with 56 tackles, posting a career-high eight stops-for-loss and six QB pressures, three that led to interceptions. After leading the team to the national championship, Jones wore the Seminoles colors one last time as a member of the South team competing in the 2014 Senior Bowl.
Jones started 39-of-54 games at Florida State, coming out with the first unit for 23 appearances at strong-side outside linebacker, 14 contests at weak-side outside linebacker and two others at middle linebacker…Finished with 225 tackles (124 solos) that included eight sacks for minus 39 yards, 24.0 stops for losses of 92 yards and 10 quarterback pressures…Caused two fumbles and recovered four others, advancing two for a total of 19 yards that included one touchdown…Also gained 15 yards via an interception return and deflected six other tosses.