It was a "family affair" for Jones and his brother, defensive lineman Rahim Alem, the last three seasons, as Tigers fans got to see the duo star for the Louisiana State defensive unit. Jones also donned a baseball uniform, joining Jared Mitchell as the only two players in NCAA history to capture a BCS football title and a College World Series crown. The two played on LSU's 2007 national championship football team and the Tigers' 2009 NCAA title baseball squad.
From a young age, both brothers aspired to one day have careers as professional athletes. Alem pictured himself in the National Football League, while Jones, a two-sport standout, saw himself in either the NFL or Major League Baseball. Their father, Al Jones, Jr., encouraged the boys to achieve those goals. "If they want to be in that one percent, then that's what they should be. They should follow and fulfill their dreams."
After declaring for the 2010 NFL Draft following his stellar junior season, Jones will get his opportunity. "Since I was a kid growing up in a family with a strong football tradition, I've always dreamed of playing football in college and hoped one day I'd make it to the NFL," Jones said. "After many discussions with my family and (LSU) Coach (Les) Miles, I feel it's the right time for me to enter the NFL draft."
Widely considered to be the best all-around athlete on the team, Jones gave the Tigers secondary a boost when he moved into a full-time starting role at free safety as a junior. In 2008, the defense ranked 73rd in the country as they allowed 215.38 passing yards per game. The unit saw an increase in effectiveness a year later when Jones stepped into the starting lineup, ranking 29th nationally giving up just 194.23 aerial yards per game.
The free safety chipped in a team-high three interceptions for a squad that improved its number of pass thefts from eight in 2008 to thirteen in 2009. Jones was selected as a second-team All-Southeastern Conference choice by the league's coaches and the Associated Press.
The dynamic playmaker also provided a spark in the return game. He earned Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance vs. Mississippi State in 2009. In that contest, Jones returned a fourth quarter punt 93 yards for a touchdown, weaving through would-be tacklers before falling into the end zone. The play marked the second-longest punt return in school history.
With just one season of fulltime starting experience, Jones is a raw talent. However, there is little doubt that he possesses the physical attributes to excel at the next level. With the versatility and coverage skills to play free safety and the tackling ability to play the strong spot, he should only get better as he refines his technique.
Jones prepped at St. Augustine High School in eastern New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina forced him and his family to relocate to Baton Rouge just before his junior season. He enrolled at Southern Lab, recording 81 tackles, eleven pass deflections and four interceptions to earn first-team All-District and All-State Class A honors.
As a senior, Jones had an outstanding season while leading Southern Lab to a state semifinal berth. He collected 138 tackles and 12 interceptions, returning six of them for scores, while rushing for 464 yards and 12 touchdowns to earn first-team All-District and All-State honors for the second-straight season. He was a consensus five-star All-American by every recruiting service, and was one of four defensive backs in the country to be named to the prestigious Parade All-American Team.
On the baseball diamond, Jones featured a 91 mph fastball and batted over .500 during his final season. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 13th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, and faced a tough decision over which sport to pursue. He chose to follow his older brother to Louisiana State, where he played both sports for the school, turning down a $745,000 signing bonus from the Astros.
Jones joined the Tigers football program in 2007 and immediately began making his presence felt. As a true freshman, he played in all fourteen games and provided the team with versatility and depth, returning kickoffs and punts in addition to serving as a backup safety, handling dime package duties.
He also made his mark on LSU's special teams coverage units, where he registered a team-leading 23 tackles in that capacity, finishing the year with a total of 34 tackles, two sacks and an interception. He also broke up four passes and caused one fumble.
The highlight of his season came vs. the Alabama Crimson Tide, when he collected four tackles and two sacks. In the final moments of the game, Jones sacked Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson and forced him to fumble, setting up a game-winning touchdown as the Tigers recovered the loose ball. LSU capped off the season with a victory over Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game.
Jones also played in five games for the Tigers' baseball team as a first-year freshman. He made three starts with one apiece at center field, right field and designated hitter. He finished the year batting .154 (2-of-13) with one double and two runs.
In his second year, Jones saw his role on defense expand as he played in all 13 games and started five contests (one a free safety, one at dime, three at nickel). His best game of the season came in a 40-31 victory over Troy, when Jones collected nine tackles (four solo), two quarterback hurries, two pass deflections and one interception. His first career start at free safety came vs. Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
As a sophomore, Jones started eight games for the baseball team (three in left field, three in right field and two at designated hitter) before leaving for six weeks to participate in spring football practice. He returned to the team in late April and made significant contributions as a relief pitcher.
Jones had an outstanding outing vs. Texas in the final game of the 2009 College World Series. He pitched 1.2 perfect innings, allowing no hits and no walks while striking out two to preserve an 11-4 win for LSU. Jones joined teammate Jared Mitchell as the only two players in college history to claim a BCS national title and a baseball national title.
As a junior on the gridiron, Jones became the Tigers' fulltime starter at free safety while doubling as a part-time punt returner. He ranked fifth on the team with 73 tackles (37 solos) including 2.5 stops for losses and led the squad with three interceptions.
Jones earned Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after a seven tackle performance vs. Mississippi State, in which he made an electric play by returning a punt 93 yards for a touchdown. He earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors from the league's coaches and the Associated Press.
Shortly after the Capital One Bowl, Jones announced that he would not be returning to the university for his senior season and had applied for entry in the 2010 NFL Draft. "After many discussions with my family and (LSU) Coach (Les) Miles, I feel it's the right time for me to enter the NFL draft." Jones said in his press release.
LSU baseball Coach Paul Mainieri said he was informed by text from Miles and said he had mixed emotions. "A part of me is disappointed I won't have him here to coach next season and a part of me is disappointed he won't be back with the football team," Mainieri said. "On the other hand, I'm happy for him. It's the fulfillment of a dream. He has my full support."
Jones played in all 40 games at Louisiana State, starting 19 contests – thirteen at free safety and six as the nickel back…Recorded 157 tackles (84 solos) with 7.5 stops for losses of 45 yards…Added two sacks for minus 25 yards and six quarterback pressures, as he deflected 15 passes and intercepted five others for 81 yards in returns (16.20 avg)… Forced four fumbles and blocked one punt…Returned seven kickoffs for 120 yards (17.14 avg) and 31 punts for 336 yards and one touchdown (10.84 avg)…His 93-yard punt return for a touchdown vs. Mississippi State in 2009 was the second-longest punt return in school history behind Eddie Kennison's 100 yard return vs. Mississippi State in 1994… Also caught one pass for 21 yards.
Earned first-team All-Southern Conference honors from The NFL Draft Report and second-team accolades from the league's coaches and the Associated Press…Shared the Percy E. Roberts Award with Patrick Peterson as LSU's outstanding defensive players…Started all thirteen games at free safety, ranking fifth on the team with 73 tackles (37 solos), including 2.5 stops for losses of 10 yards…Recorded a team-high three interceptions for 71 yards (23.67 avg) in returns with one pass theft coming on a third-down snap, and added five pass deflections, as he batted away three third-down attempts…Forced one fumble and blocked one punt…Made 18 tackles after receptions for 244 yards and 10 first downs, producing five third-down hits vs. the aerial game, as he also rerouted receivers away from ten other throws…On 53 running plays Jones was involved in, the opposition gained 328 yards and 19 first downs, including one third-down stop and another on fourth-down, as he stopped ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain four times…Added one tackle on the kickoff coverage unit and another on the punt coverage team…Posted 10 of his hits inside the red zone, including seven on goal-line plays…Returned six punts for 129 yards (21.50 avg) and one touchdown, including a 93-yard touchdown return vs. Mississippi State which ranks as the second-longest in school history…Earned Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors vs. Mississippi State.
2009 GAME ANALYSIS
Louisiana-Lafayette…Jones contributed four tackles (two solo), two interceptions and one pass deflection in 31-3 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette…On the game's opening drive, Jones forced a punt by deflecting a third-down pass intended for Ladarius Green…With time expiring in the first quarter, Jones intercepted a pass by Chris Masson and returned it 38 yards to the Lafayette 23-yard line, setting up a touchdown for LSU…Early in the fourth quarter, Jones intercepted another pass attempt by Masson and returned it 24 yards, leading to another touchdown for LSU…Defensive Impact-Made three stops vs. the run for 22 yards and two first downs, including one stop for no gain…Intercepted two passes for 62 yards in returns with one pick coming on a third-down…Deflected one third-down pass attempt…Added one tackle on the kickoff coverage unit…Defense allowed 17-of-37 passes to be completed for 163 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, and 272 yards in total offense on 66 attempts (4.1 avg)…Special Teams Impact-Returned one punt for two yards.
Mississippi State…Jones registered seven tackles (four solo) and returned two punts for 93 yards and a touchdown as LSU overcame Mississippi State, 30-26…Early in the fourth quarter, Jones fielded a bouncing punt at the LSU seven-yard line and started toward the left sideline and shook a tackle. He then changed directions, broke another tackle, and crossed the 15-yard line with two great peel-back blocks by Brandon Taylor and Stevan Ridley. With Patrick Peterson escorting down the right sideline and Charles Alexander blocking ahead, Jones crossed midfield before breaking another tackle at the MSU 40. He regained his balance and got one more block from Peterson before falling exhausted into the right side of the endzone. With 14:36 remaining, the 93-yard touchdown gave LSU a 30-21 lead. It was the second-longest punt return in LSU history and the longest since Eddie Kennison's school-record long 100-yard return for a TD vs. Mississippi State on Sept. 10, 1994…Jones earned Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance…Defensive Impact-Made seven stops vs. the run for 40 yards and three first downs with two stops for no gain…Defense allowed 17-of-40 passes to be completed for 223 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions, and 374 total offensive yards on 86 attempts (4.3 avg)…Special Teams Impact-Returned two punts for 93 yards and one touchdown.
Florida…Jones collected a career-high 12 tackles (two solo) as LSU fell to the top-ranked Florida Gators, 13-3…During a first quarter drive, Jones helped stop Jeff Demps after a one-yard rush on third-down. Florida elected to go for it on fourth-and-two, but turned the ball over on downs after Jones and Perry Riley stopped Brandon James on a one-yard rush…"We played all right, but obviously, it wasn't good enough. We definitely played well. We feel good about how we played, but we also could have played better. That one touchdown gave them the extra boost that they needed to continue throughout the game. If that touchdown wouldn't have happened, things would have turned out differently," Jones said of the defense's performance…Defensive Impact-Made two tackles after receptions for 14 yards…Made 10 stops vs. the run for 26 yards and two first downs, including one third-down stop and one fourth-down stop…Defense allowed 11-of-16 passes to be completed for 134 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and 327 yards in total offense on 64 attempts (5.1 avg).
Mississippi…Jones recorded five tackles (four solo) with one stop for a four-yard loss as LSU was upset by Mississippi, 25-23…During a fourth quarter drive, Jones hit Jesse Gandy in the backfield for a four-yard loss…Defensive Impact-Made one tackle after a 14-yard reception good for a first down…Made four stops vs. the run for 12 yards and one first down, including one stop for a four-yard loss…Defense allowed 15-of-22 passes to be completed for 233 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, and 426 yards in total offense on 67 attempts (6.4 avg).
Arkansas…Jones collected two tackles (one solo), one interception and one pass deflection as LSU overcame Arkansas, 33-30 in overtime…On the game's opening drive, Jones intercepted a pass by Ryan Mallet and returned it nine yards…He deflected a pass intended for receiver Jarius Wright during a second quarter drive…Defensive Impact-Made two tackles after receptions for 27 yards and one first down…Deflected one pass and intercepted another, returning it nine yards…Committed one personal foul for 15 yards and a first down…Defense allowed 17-of-39 passes to be completed for 227 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and 375 yards in total offense on 74 attempts (5.1 avg).
Penn State (Capital One Bowl)…Jones led the team with eight tackles (six solo) including one stop for a loss of three yards, and added one forced fumble, one blocked punt and one pass deflection as LSU fell to 13th-ranked Penn State 19-17 in the Capital One Bowl…On the game's opening drive, Jones blocked a punt that landed just 23 yards away to give LSU possession at their own 34-yard line…A drive later, Jones stopped Curtis Drake in the backfield for a three-yard loss…On a second quarter third-down attempt, Jones deflected a pass intended for Derek Moye, forcing Penn State to punt…Later in the quarter, Jones met Evan Royster at the line of scrimmage on a goal-line play, stopping the tailback for no gain and forcing him to fumble the ball. Royster recovered the loose ball to maintain possession…Defensive Impact-Made two tackles after receptions for 38 yards and two first downs and deflected one third-down pass attempt…Made six stops vs. the run for 28 yards and one first down, including one stop for a loss of three yards, one stop for no gain and one forced fumble…Committed one pass interference penalty for 15 yards and a first down…Defense allowed 18-of-35 passes to be completed for 216 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, and 340 yards in total offense on 75 attempts (4.5 avg).
Other Notable Performances…Jones began the season with four solo tackles in his first game as the starting free safety, a 31-23 decision over Washington…Added five more hits the next week vs. Vanderbilt…Had six tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage and broke up a pass vs. Auburn…Followed with six tackles (4 solos) in a 42-0 shutout of Tulane…Broke up a pass and posted four hits vs. Alabama…Registered eight tackles (3 solos) in a 24-16 decision over Louisiana Tech.
Jones played in all thirteen games, sharing strong safety duties with Harry Coleman, but earned six starting assignments in the nickel and dime alignments vs. Appalachian State, North Texas, Florida, Troy, Arkansas and Georgia Tech (Chick fil-A Bowl)…Registered 50 tackles (22 solos) with two stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he caused two fumbles and posted five quarterback pressures…Gained 10 yards on an interception return, 25 yards on two kickoff returns and averaged 11.87 yards on eight punt returns for a total of 95 yards…Also deflected six passes for a secondary that ranked 17th in the nation in pass defense, allowing 110.15 yards per game.
2008 GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Recorded two pressures, broke up a pass attempt and returned three punts for 40 yards vs. Appalachian State in the season opener…Delivered seven tackles with an assisted stop for a loss and a pass break-up vs. North Texas…Posted five tackles to go with a season-long 24-yard punt return vs. Mississippi State…Added five tackles while batting down a pass vs. Georgia…Returned a punt 19 yards, caused a fumble and delivered five hits in the Alabama clash…Had arguably his best all-around game vs. Troy, as he came up with nine tackles, two quarterback pressures, two pass break-ups and an interception that he returned to set up a scoring drive in a 40-31 comeback win over the Trojans...Made six tackles, as he caused a fumble when he tackled tailback Dexter McCluster behind the line of scrimmage, adding another stop for a loss vs. Mississippi…Capped the season with a strong performance vs. Georgia Tech in the Chick fil-A Bowl, recording four tackles and one pass break-up as Tiger defense shutdown the Yellow Jackets triple-option attack. He also caught one pass for 21 yards.
Jones played in all fourteen games as a true freshman, performing on the special teams coverage units, where he led the Tigers with 23 tackles, and also competed as the dime back, finishing the season with 34 tackles (25 solos), two sacks for minus 25 yards and three stops for losses of 32 yards…Deflected four passes and intercepted another… Added a QB pressure and caused a fumble…Gained 90 yards on four kickoff returns (22.5 avg) and returned 17 punts for 112 yards (6.59 avg)…Helped the Tigers finish third in the nation in total defense (288.79 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (98.35 rating).
2007 GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Jones made his football debut with a tackle on the kickoff coverage team vs. Mississippi State…Added three tackles in each of his next two games, vs. Virginia Tech and Middle Tennessee…In his first game handling returns, he fielded three punts for 25 yards, broke up a pass attempt and delivered two solo tackles vs. Tulane…Knocked down the game-saving pass in the end zone as time expired to hand the Tigers a 28-24 decision over Florida…Had his best game in a 41-34 victory over Alabama, as he twice sacked QB John Parker Wilson, causing a fumble on the second sack to set up the Tigers' game-winning scoring drive, finishing the day with four solo tackles…Added five tackles and gained 50 yards on two kickoff returns vs. Arkansas…Posted six tackles, including one that stopped tailback Arian Foster for a 7-yard loss in a 21-14 triumph over Tennessee in the SEC title game…Registered a QB pressure and a pass deflection in a 38-24 win over Ohio State in the BCS Championship Bowl Game.
Jones spent two seasons as an outfielder, relief pitcher and designated hitter for the Tigers' baseball team…Joined teammate Jared Mitchell as the only two collegiate student-athletes to win both a BCS football title and a College World Series Crown, as both were members of LSU's 2007 national championship football team and the Tigers' 2009 NCAA title baseball squad.
Started eight games (three in left field, three in right field and two at designated hitter) before leaving the squad for six weeks to participate in spring football practice…Returned in late April and made significant contributions as a relief pitcher, with nine appearances, posting no decisions and a 2.70 earned run average in 6.2 innings with three walks and seven strikeouts…Concluded the season batting .343 (12-of-35) with one home run, two doubles and six RBI…Season highlight came in the final game vs. Texas in the College World Series when he pitch 1.2 scoreless innings while allowing no hit and no walks with two strikeouts to help preserve an 11-4 victory.
Played in five games and started three contests, making one start apiece a center field, right field and designated hitter…Batted .154 (2-of-13) with one double and two runs.
Spent his first two seasons at St. Augustine (New Orleans, La.) High School before evacuating to Southern University Laboratory High in Baton Rouge following Hurricane Katrina…Played football at Southern Lab for head coach Michael Roach…Named first-team All-District and All-State as a junior after accumulating 81 tackles, 11 pass break-ups and four interceptions…Collected 138 tackles and 12 interceptions while rushing for 464 yards and 12 touchdowns to earn first-team All-District and All-State honors for the second-straight season as a senior while leading his team to a state semifinal berth…One was one of four defensive backs in the country to be named to the prestigious Parade All-America Team…Played in the inaugural Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Fort Lauderdale, Florida…Consensus five-star All-American selection by every major recruiting publication…Member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100, New Orleans Times Picayune's Blue-Chip List and Baton Rouge Advocate Super Dozen...Listed as the nation's top safety prospect by Scout.com…Rivals.com listed him as the top athlete recruit in the country, the 14th overall prospect and the number two recruit in Louisiana… Also considered one of the elite baseball prospects in the state as a left-handed pitcher and outfielder…On the baseball diamond, he earned All-State and All-District honors as a senior at Southern Lab…Featured a 91 mph fastball as a pitcher and batted over .500 as an outfielder...Drafted in the 13th round (411th overall) of the Major League Baseball by the Houston Astros.
General Studies major…Brother, Rahim Alem, was a teammate and defensive end for Louisiana State from 2005-09 and is projected as a linebacker prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft…Son of Patti and Al Jones…Father played football for Tulane, serving as a team captain for the Green Wave in 1978, and now works as a high school principal…Mother works as an engineer with NASA and holds a graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin…Born 10/05/88 in New Orleans, Louisiana.