PISCATAWAY, NJ – Senior Nate Jones (Scotch Plains, NJ) is one of eight Division I-A members named to College Football’s 2003 National Scholar-Athlete Class, as selected by The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Jones, a starting cornerback and kick returner for the Scarlet Knights, will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship.
“Since 1959, these highly sought after awards have recognized only a chosen few who have excelled above all in areas of scholarship, citizenship and athletic performance,” said National Football Foundation Chairman Jon F. Hanson. “We are pleased to honor these outstanding young men for all of their achievements with an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship.”
A defensive and special teams standout, Jones was a Second Team Academic All-American and an All-District II academic pick in 2002. He was also named the New Jersey Sports Writers Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A Robert G. Carr Scholar, he is a member of the Golden Key and Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Societies.
Also a leader in the community, Jones serves as Rutgers’ representative to the National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a member of the Leadership Council on campus. A participant in the annual holiday toy and Thanksgiving turkey drives, Jones also speaks regularly to youth football leagues and with the Rutgers Football Middle School program.
On the field, Jones was a First Team All-BIG EAST selection in 2002 and was also named the BIG EAST Co-Special Teams Player of the Year. He led the conference and ranked fifth nationally in kickoff return yardage (28.3) and posted two, 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns. He finished third on the team in tackles in 2002 (84) and is currently fourth in 2003 (49). In addition to his 49 tackles, Jones also has two interceptions and four pass break ups.
“There is no question that Nate Jones is a competitor and an achiever,” said head coach Greg Schiano. “He is a great role model for the rest of our football team. There is not much we need to do with Nate as far as lending academic support. He is a bright kid who doesn’t need much help, and he also shows other guys how it can be done.”
Other Division I-A honorees include Robert Droege (Missouri), Craig Krenzel (Ohio State), Eli Manning (Mississippi), Rodney Reed (Louisiana State), Dontarrious Thomas (Auburn), Jonathan Vilma (Miami), Renaldo Works (Oklahoma).
The Division I-AA honorees are John Freiser (Colgate) and Jason Whaley (Western Carolina). The Division II recipients are John Edmonds (NW Missouri State) and Keith Heckendorf (St. Cloud State), while representing Division III are Flynn Cochran (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and Justin Napotnik (Theil). The NAIA award winner is Daniel Woodburn (Hastings).
Jones, along with the 14 other Division I-A, I-AA, II, II and NAIA honorees
will be recognized at The National Football Foundation and College Hall of
Fame’s 46th Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 9 at the Waldorf-Astoria in
New York City. Also being honored at the dinner will be the 2003 College Football
Hall of Fame class, which will share the dais with the scholar-athletes.