2011 NFL Draft: Michigan State's Greg Jones Selected By Giants In Sixth Round

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State two-time All-America linebacker Greg Jones has been selected by the New York Giants in the sixth round (No. 185 overall) of the 2011 National Football League Draft Saturday, April 30.

 

The Spartans have had at least one player chosen since the inception of the common NFL Draft 45 years ago in 1967. Â

 

The 6-1, 240-pound Jones became the first Spartan to earn consensus All-America honors in back-to-back seasons since defensive end Charles “Bubba” Smith and roverback George Webster in 1965-66. He also became Michigan State's ninth unanimous All-America selection and the first since wide receiver Charles Rogers in 2002.

 

Jones earned First-Team All-America honors from The Associated Press, Sporting News, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Walter Camp Football Foundation, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), SI.com, CBSSports.com, Scout.com and Phil Steele. He was the only repeat selection from last year's AP All-America First Team. Jones became only the second Spartan player ever to earn AP First-Team All-America honors in back-to-back seasons, joining Webster (1965-66). He also became MSU's seventh three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and the first since punter Brandon Fields (2003, 2004 and 2006).

 

 

 

Jones led the Spartans in tackles (106), tackles for loss (10 for 20 yards), forced fumbles (3), quarterback hurries (6) and production points (219). He became the first Spartan to reach the 100-tackle milestone in three straight seasons since Percy Snow (1987-89). Jones also ranked among the Big Ten leaders in forced fumbles (tied for second) and tackles (seventh at 8.2 per game). He anchored a Spartan defensive unit that ranked fifth in the Big Ten and No. 37 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing defense, allowing 133.7 yards per game.

 

“It has been a stressful three days, but I feel both relieved and excited,” Jones said. “All of my hard work has paid off, and now, I’m excited to have the opportunity to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL. A lot of teams passed on me, but I’m hungrier than ever to prove myself. I wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school, but yet I became a four-year starter and an All-American.

 

“I could really hear the excitement in the voices of (General Manager) Jerry Reese and (head coach) Tom Coughlin. They really liked me and they feel like I can have an impact right away, both on defense and on special teams.

 

“I’ll never regret my decision that I made to return to Michigan State for my senior year. I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the program over the last four years, and ultimately those things resulted in a Big Ten Championship last year. I’m so thankful to all of the people at Michigan State, who have supported me during this journey to the NFL. I wouldn’t trade my last four years for anything.”

 

“Greg Jones equals production,” New York Giants Director of College Scouting Marc Ross said. “To get a guy who is this productive, this late . . . A three-time All-Big Ten pick, Jones made tons of tackles, sacks and tackles for loss. Jones is instinctive, plays hard and gets to the football. He’s just a football player.

 

“(During the course of his college career) Jones kind of played all three positions at Michigan State, but we see him as a MIKE linebacker because he’s built thick and compact. He has the instincts and vision to play inside. He plays best in there because he’s so slippery, plus he’s real quick laterally.”

 

A model of consistency, Jones led the team in tackles in 31 of the last 39 games and became only the second player in MSU history to lead the Spartans in tackles for four-straight seasons (linebacker Dan Bass, 1976-79).

 

The 2010 team MVP closed out his collegiate career with a team-high eight tackles, including two for losses (2 yards), against No. 15 Alabama in the 2011 Capital One Bowl.

 

In MSU's 35-31 come-from-behind victory over Purdue, Jones registered eight tackles, a pass break-up and pressured Rob Henry into throwing an interception on a fourth-and-8 play from the Spartan 20-yard line with less than a minute remaining.

 

In MSU's 31-8 win over Minnesota, he recorded nine tackles, including 2.5 for losses (3 yards), as the Spartans limited the Golden Gophers to 267 total yards. The second-year captain also made nine stops each in back-to-back road games against Northwestern and Iowa.

 

Jones, who posted a season-high 14 stops in a 26-6 Homecoming victory over Illinois, was named National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation as well as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He recorded double-figure tackles for the second time this season and for the 20th time his career. Jones also was credited with a pass break-up and a quarterback hurry. Michigan State limited the Illini to 114 rushing yards - 103 yards below its season average. Trailing 6-3 at halftime, the Spartan defense shut out the Illini in the second half while forcing three turnovers (four takeaways in the game). It marked the first time since a 31-3 win over Indiana on Oct. 4, 2003, that MSU didn't allow a touchdown in a Big Ten game.

 

Jones posted five tackles in MSU's 34-17 victory at No. 18 Michigan, as the Spartan defense held the Wolverines to a season-low 162 rushing yards.

 

He recorded eight tackles, including a season-best three for losses, in No. 24 MSU's 34-24 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin. The Spartan defense held Wisconsin to 165 rushing yards - nearly 93 yards below its season average. The Badgers entered the game ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 10 in the NCAA FBS in rushing, averaging 257.5 yards per game.

 

Jones, who recorded two interceptions, four tackles and forced a fumble in MSU's 45-7 victory over Northern Colorado, was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Jones recorded the first two interceptions of his career against the Bears, with both leading to MSU scores. His 34-yard return in the first quarter set up Edwin Baker's 5-yard TD run, while his second-quarter pick set up Le'Veon Bell's second TD run.

 

He tallied nine tackles in MSU's 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame, including a 6-yard sack. Jones recorded 11 tackles and forced a fumble in MSU's 30-17 victory over Florida Atlantic at Ford Field.

 

The Cincinnati, Ohio, native started 46 of 52 career games, including 40 consecutive starting assignments (tied for team high with linebacker Eric Gordon). He made 465 career tackles, including 46.5 for losses (160 yards) and 16.5 sacks (93 yards). Jones ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles for loss (second), total tackles (third) and sacks (sixth).

 

Additional quotes regarding Greg Jones . . .

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio:

“The pro scouts often become enamored with a prospect’s measurable, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Greg Jones will have a long, productive career in the National Football League. He’ll play immediately on special teams. Greg is a very instinctive player, who finds a way to get to the football. He reacts well to sudden changes in direction, and he’s added weight to strengthen his durability.

 

“Greg closed out his collegiate career as one of the most accomplished defensive players in Spartan history and that speaks volumes. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for him because he believed in this football program and returned for his senior year to win a Big Ten Championship, and he delivered on that promise.”

 

New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese:

“Greg Jones has been incredibly productive over his time at Michigan State. One of the things that the late Tom Boisture taught me is when you scout guys, you respect production. This guy has tons of production. This guy has sacks. He has tons and tons of tackles. He’s played at a high level, and he’s a very instinctive player. Jones is another guy who’s going to come in with a chip on his shoulder because I’m pretty sure he feels like he should’ve been picked a lot higher than where he got picked. He’ll come in here with something to prove.”

 

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin:

“Greg Jones, the highly productive linebacker from Michigan State, was our first pick in the sixth round. He is a three-time All-Big Ten middle backer, who has tremendous production, lots of tackles and any number of sacks over the course of his career as well.”