In his senior season at Tupelo (Miss.) High School, defensive lineman P.J. Jones did a lot of chasing in opposing backfields. More times than not, Jones caught who he was chasing as he finished the year with 84 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Of late, Jones has been doing even more running in preparations for the next level. The 2011 Mississippi State signee is about to report to the Bulldogs' program and begin summer school as well as summer workouts.
"I've just been working out every day with the workout book they sent me," said the 6-foot-3 Jones. "And I've been doing a whole lot of running. I took care of my school work and now I am just ready to get down there. I know it will be hard those first couple of weeks and that is why I have been doing a ton of running."
Last year, Jones split time on the edge and in the middle of Tupelo's defensive line. However, concerning his collegiate career, he said he wasn't sure where he would line up in the future. With his recent workouts and running schedule, he has dropped a few pounds but noted he is "not done growing".
"I have lost about 10 or 15 pounds with all this running," said Jones, who expects to room with fellow 2011 signee and defensive end John Harris. "I am at 258 pounds now and starting to look more like a defensive end. Mississippi State said they don't know yet which spot I will play and we will just see how it goes. I am only 18 years old so I am not done growing yet."
Like all incoming true freshmen, Jones quickly pointed out his first major adjustment from high school ball to SEC ball.
"It will be the speed of the game like everyone says," Jones said. "The speed in the SEC is a whole other dimension. I know I will get beat up early and you have to be a man to play for (MSU defensive line coach) Chris Wilson. So I have to grow up fast playing with guys like Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd. I will just give it my all and see what happens."
Looking down the road, Jones said he has high expectations for the Bulldogs in 2011, just like he said on the day he signed with head coach Dan Mullen.
"It's pretty amazing and exciting right now at Mississippi State and I am full of energy," said Jones. "I think we are gonna go pretty deep next year and have more wins. Coach Mullen has it rolling right now and that is why I wanted to be a Bulldog. I want to be part of the special thing they have going on at Mississippi State and I am about to be with them. That is pretty exciting just to say that."