Greg Jones Named AFCA First-Team All-American

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The 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year leads the conference and ranks third in the NCAA with a career-best 141 tackles.

 EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State junior linebacker and 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Greg Jones has been named First-Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Jones leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 141 tackles, the eighth-best single-season total in MSU history. He becomes the first Spartan to earn AFCA All-America honors since wide receiver Charles Rogers in 2002.


The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best – the coaches themselves.


Jones ranks fourth in the NCAA FBS in tackles per game (11.8), tied for 22nd in sacks (0.75 per game) and tied for 43rd in tackles for loss (1.13 per game). He also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in sacks (fourth) and tackles for loss (tied for eighth at 1.12 per game). Jones leads the team in tackles (141 total), tackles for loss (13.5 for 68 yards), sacks (9.0 for 53 yards) and production points (282). He became the first Spartan to record back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since 2003-04 when both linebacker Ronald Stanley and free safety Jason Harmon reached the milestone.


Jones reached double-figure tackles for the eighth time this season in MSU’s regular-season finale against No. 13 Penn State, matching his career high with 15 tackles. He recorded 2.5 tackles for loss (11 yards) against the Nittany Lions, including 1.5 sacks (6 yards).


He also posted double-digit tackles against Montana State (14), Central Michigan (15), Wisconsin (14), Illinois (11), Northwestern (14), Iowa (12) and Minnesota (12). Jones produced a career-best two sacks (9 yards) in MSU’s 24-14 Homecoming victory over Northwestern.


“With his consistent productivity, Greg Jones has a tremendous impact in every game,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. “He’s an outstanding tackler, who is certainly deserving of this honor. Greg has dedicated himself to becoming a complete football player and that includes his willingness to spend additional time studying video. This is really Greg’s first full season playing at middle linebacker, so he will continue to grow in the position as we move forward.


“Greg possesses all of the tools, the tangibles and intangibles, which make him a special player. He’s an extremely tenacious and instinctive player, who brings great energy and effort every time he steps on to the field. In addition, Greg is quick, strong and plays with tremendous toughness. He’s the clear leader of our defense, and when he’s going, we’re going as a unit.”


 “Greg Jones is a tackling machine,” defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. “He is the heart and soul of the Michigan State defensive unit. You can count on him to consistently make the big plays, and each week, he plays with great effort for four quarters.”


“Greg Jones is passionate about the game, and when he’s on the field, nothing is going to stop him from getting to the football,” linebackers coach Mike Tressel said. “More importantly, he’s a great person. He always represents himself, his teammates and Michigan State with class.”


The Cincinnati, Ohio, native has posted double-digit tackles in 15 of his last 19 games overall, averaging 11.9 stops (227 total) during that stretch. A model of consistency, Jones has led the team in tackles in 22 of the last 25 games.


Jones has started 32 of 38 career games, including 26 consecutive starting assignments. He has 346 career tackles, including 36.0 for losses (139 yards) and 15.5 sacks (87 yards). Jones ranks among NCAA FBS active leaders in tackles per game (fourth with 9.1 avg.) and total tackles (eighth with 346). He already ranks among MSU’s all-time leaders in tackles for loss (fifth) and total tackles (tied for ninth). Jones has produced double-figure tackles 17 times in his career.


The 6-6 Spartans, who finished tied for sixth in the Big Ten standings at 4-4, are bowl eligible for the third consecutive year, a first for the program since 1995-97. Michigan State learns its postseason destination when bowl pairings are announced on Sunday, Dec. 6.

Greg Jones led the way in 2009 for the Spartan D.  Photo Courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

Greg Jones led the way in 2009 for the Spartan D. Photo Courtesy of Bill Marklevits.