PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers junior defensive back NATE JONES has been named Co-Special Teams Player of the Year, and first team All-BIG EAST as a kick returner, by the BIG EAST Conference, it was announced today. Jones was joined on the all-league team by teammate SHAWN SEABROOKS, a second-team All-BIG EAST pick as a defensive back. The All-BIG EAST teams are voted on by the league’s head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.
Jones had an outstanding season for the Scarlet Knights, both as a kick returner and a starting cornerback. The 5-10, 175-pound resident of Scotch Plains, N.J., was the No. 1 kick returner in the BIG EAST, and No. 6 nationally, averaging 28.3 yards per return. Jones had two 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns, at Tennessee and at Syracuse, becoming only the second player in BIG EAST history (Nate Terry of West Virginia, in 1997) to accomplish that feat. Jones also blocked two kicks during the year, including a field goal attempt against Syracuse that was scooped up by teammate Brandon Haw and returned 90 yards for a TD.
Jones, a two-time Special Teams Player of the Week selection by the BIG EAST in 2002, also started all 12 games at cornerback for the Scarlet Knights, and finished the season as the Scarlet Knights’ third leading tackler with 84 stops. He also recorded two interceptions, recovered two fumbles, and intercepted two passes. Jones has also been named to the Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-America squad (second team).
Seabrooks capped an outstanding career at Rutgers by being selected to the All-BIG EAST second team. The senior from Paterson, N.J., was second on the Scarlet Knights in tackles with 104 stops. The 5-10, 190-pound Seabrooks also had one sack, 5.5 tackles for loss, five pass break ups, and recovered one fumble. He was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week following his efforts in Rutgers’ 44-0 win over Army, when he intercepted a pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.