Sophomore wide receiver Mike Jones made a lasting first impression on quarterback Dray Joseph in fall practice last season.
It was the first day of practice when Joseph found Jones on a crossing-pattern across the middle, and the shifty receiver turned up field.
“I remember last camp, the first time I saw him catch a ball, he made the catch and took it 50 yards for the touchdown,” Joseph said.
Heading into last Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage, seven wide receivers were in competition for the top-four wide-receiver rotation on the Jaguars offense.
Jones is among that group vying for playing time, yet he brings the distinct advantage of his top-line speed to the field.
Jones, who doubles as a sprinter on the Jaguars track and field team, brings an element to the football field that not many others can match.
“The vertical combinations that we run, Mike can get behind the defense using his speed,” coach Dawson Odums said.
A native of Bryan, Texas, Jones took an unorthodox route to being a college football recruit after being noticed by Southern track and field coach Brian Johnson.
“I got to Southern because coach (Johnson) saw me at a meet,” Jones said. “He got my film and he showed it to the football coaches.”
Jones, a member of the 4x100-meter relay team, helped guide the relay team to a third-place finish at the Southwestern Athletic Conference track and field championships last spring.
“It meant a lot to me to help my team,” Jones added. “It was a goal of ours to medal at the conference meet.”
With Lee Doss and Willie Quinn out wide, the Jaguars offense will need a third receiver to step-up and provide playmaking ability to alleviate the pressure off those two.
“I’m going to try and use my speed to draw coverage and create holes for them,” Jones said. “I’m just working hard to get in the top four of the rotation.”
In addition to Doss and Quinn, Jones is competing with juniors Sam Altman and Bradley Brown, and freshman Chuck Baker for snaps.
Joseph also feels Jones could be a valuable contributor to the receiving corps.
“We need him to stretch the field,” Joseph said. “There are going to be times when teams are going to try and double-team Lee and take away Willie, and that’s when a guy like Mike is going to have to step up and make a play.”
“Mike has been here with me for two years now. So I know what he is capable of, and I’m confident going to him. Mike can stretch the field real well. I just want to try and give him a shot deep to try and run by a guy.”
Co-offensive coordinator Chad Germany said he is excited about the possibility of using Jones’ speed this coming season, an aspect he felt his offense was lacking last year.
“We weren’t able to take advantage of stretching the field last year,” Germany said. “But Mike gives us that dimension that we can hopefully take advantage of.”
The Blue & Gold Fan Club will sponsor bus trips to several Southern football games this fall.
The cost for each bus trip includes the price of the bus ride, game ticket, refreshments on the bus and tailgate food.
Trips return immediately after the game.
For additional information, contact Craig Pierre at (225) 324-7234 or Robert Square at (225) 931-4052.