Jones was recognized as the “Special Teams Player of the Year” and the “Football Scholar-Athlete” by the NJSWA.
Jones enjoyed an outstanding season on the gridiron for the Scarlet Knights in 2002, earning All-BIG EAST honors while being named the Conference’s “Co-Special Teams Player of the Year.” Jones was one of four Scarlet Knights to start all 12 games on defense, and was third on the squad with 81 tackles. Jones also led the BIG EAST, and was sixth in the country, in kickoff returns, averaging 28.3 yards per return. He earned national acclaim by returning a pair of kickoffs 100-yards for touchdowns (vs. Tennessee and vs. Syracuse).
Jones has been equally impressive in the classroom in his career at Rutgers. Earlier this academic year, he was named to the Verizon Academic All-America (University Division I) Second Team. Jones, a finance major, was also named to the BIG EAST’s All-Academic Football Team for the second consecutive year, and a Verizon District II All-Academic selection.
“It was just two years ago, as a young freshman, I came to Rutgers not really expecting much more than to play football and continue the academic success I had in high school. I quickly found out that there were no promises, and no guarantees – that anything I wanted to achieve on the field and in the classroom – I would have to work that much harder for,” Jones said while addressing the approximately 800 people in the audience at the banquet. “Sure, there have been some sacrifices along the way. Staying up later to finish that paper that’s due the next morning, or staying in the film room that much longer to study your opponent, hoping to get that extra edge.
“But it’s all been very rewarding. I’m fortunate and deeply honored that I am being recognized today for my achievements, both in the classroom and on the playing field.”
Jones also recognized and thanked members of his family, as well as coaches who have been instrumental in his life.
Among the sports personalities honored at yesterday’s function, in addition to Jones, were Jets coach Herman Edwards (“AFC Coach of the Year”), recently appointed New York Mets manager Art Howe (“Baseball Good Guy”), Giants linebacker Dhani Jones (“Giants’ Man of the Year”) and New Jersey Nets coach Byron Scott (“Pro Basketball Coach of the Year”).