It's July, which means it's basically football season, right? Well, we're certainly close. With that in mind, the BulldogBlitz.com Senior Spotlight continues today. Every day, until there are none left, we will profile one of Mississippi State's seniors entering their last year in Starkville.
No. 33, Jamie Jones, linebacker, 6-foot-0, 240-pounds
How did he get here? Jones was the top-ranked linebacker in the state of Arkansas for the 2007 signing class. At Springdale High School, Jones was both a linebacker and a running back and in his senior year rushed for over 800 yards and recorded 70 tackles in a sickness-shortened season. As a healthy junior, Jones made 80 tackles, including seven sacks, leading his team to a 14-0 record and a state title. Jones chose to sign with Mississippi State and Sylvester Croom over offers from Ole Miss, Kentucky, Kansas and Kansas State.
What did he do in 2010? Jones saw significant action on special teams and appeared in eight games as a reserve linebacker. He was credited with two tackles, a solo tackle in the opener against Memphis and a tackle for loss against Alcorn State.
What does he need to do in 2011? The answer is pretty simple: Jones needs to emerge as a reliable and strong linebacker, either as a starter or primary backup. Much has been made about MSU losing all three starting linebackers from 2010 and Jones is the only senior linebacker on the team other than Brandon Maye, who just got to MSU this summer. Jones was a well-thought of, if not overly-recruited, signee out of Arkansas but in three seasons (not including his redshirt year) he has recorded one start, against Southeast Louisiana as a freshman in 2008.
Jones has been a reserve throughout his career, but now the depth chart and experience indicate he will be relied upon as the Bulldog defense makes some adjustments. Jones can make his mark at MSU by becoming a leader for the young linebackers and stepping into a vital role for the MSU defense.
Coach's quote: Geoff Collins, linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator: "Jamie has been here four years and hasn't played a lot of football. But this spring he was one of the guys that committed himself to learning all three spots. He might be our most knowledgeable guy in knowing those three packages. He also stepped up on special teams, too, and embraced what Coach (Dan)Mullen desires there."