Friday, October 3, 2008

Player Feature: Tony Jones, Grand Blanc

Grand Blanc has had a roller coaster season as the Bobcats hold a 2-3 record at the halfway point of the season, but one of the bright spots in Bobcat Country has been the passing game and particularly the play of receiver Tony Jones.

The 5-11 junior, nicknamed T.J. after his initials, is a "complete package" receiver and he has the stats to prove it. In his sophomore campaign Jones made 46 receptions that produced 468 yards and 4 touchdowns. Five games into his junior season Jones has already surpassed those numbers and has accumulated 38 catches for 498 yards and 5 touchdowns.

In a week 1 loss to Lakeland (4-1), Jones had 9 catches for 158 yards and a pair of TDs. "That loss was tough because it was the first game of the year and we had a shot at the endzone in the end but me and Ryan Morely just couldn't hook up one more time," said Jones.

Morely is in his second year as the varsity quarterback and is only a sophomore. "We are young with me being a junior and Morely only being a sophomore, but we have plenty of experience and we have great chemistry on and off the field," states Jones. Football fans sometimes take for granted the level of difficulty it is for a quarterback and a receiver to hook up, both always have to be on the same page. "Ryan and I have worked so hard to build a relationship, we are always on the same page, we're always talking and working on things in practice and in the games," says T.J.

Jones proved his week 1 performance wasn't a fluke by bouncing back with 10 catches for 179 yards and two more TD's in week 2 against East Kentwood. But since then teams know they better game plan to slow down the speedy receiver. Jones now sees double and triple coverage on a regular basis. "It gets tougher each week but the coaches and Morely do a good to find ways to still get me the ball. I line up all over the place and plus I will go in motion to try and free myself up and keep defenses guessing. At times I got to get off a linebacker's jam, beat a corner, then worry about a safety coming over top," adds Jones.

"Teams want to show me so much attention but it's not just me out there," Jones humbly expresses, "If you cover me tight we got other guys that can beat you, like Gabe Martin, Justin Hayes, and Marcus Tucker." Like a true teammate Jones is always talking about those he lines up with!

This year Jones is one of two returning All-Conference players at Grand Blanc, which makes Jones a valuable experienced leader even though he is only a junior. T.J. says, "I just help out the coaches anyway I can and make sure practices stays organized. I feal like I am a leader but lets just say I am the quiet leader."

When asked if he has ever had to chew another teammate out, T.J. just chuckled and said, "They probably wouldn't expect it out of me. I speak my mind but I haven't had to chew anyone out, I'll leave that for Morely, that's what he does."

Some might think the playoffs are a long shot for the 2-3 Bobcats, but not Jones. "It's a sign of our character. We will never give up, we will keep fighting and if we win out we will get in," states Jones. Grand Blanc finishes their season with games against Flushing, Powers, Ypsilanti Lincoln, and Waterford Mott.

Winning out is an option but also a long shot but T.J. is determined to get Grand Blanc back to the playoffs. When asked to make a guarantee that Grand Blanc will make the playoffs next year, T.J. answered without hesitation, "That's a guarantee, a guarantee without any doubt!"

T.J. also excels in basketball and is getting interest from D-1 schools in both sports. Jones spent his summer balancing football with AAU basketball and played with "The Family", a Nike team based out of Michigan.

The hard work has payed off and even though Jones doesn't have any offers in his back pocket they aren't very far away. "Lately I've been receiving more interest for football and I have received a ton of mail from schools asking me to fill out questionnaires." Jones is currently being highly evaluated by Indiana, Louisville, Michigan, Illinois, Toledo, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, and Northern Illinois.

No comments: