Spartan Nation's Greg Jones Jones Named First-Team All-American

Michigan State

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 Football Writers Association of America. 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.


The FWAA All-America Team, selected in some form since 1944, is the second-longest continuously published team in major college football. The 2009 FWAA All-America Team was announced Saturday for the sixth-straight season during a one-hour show on ABC-TV.


Jones previously earned First-Team All-America honors from and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).


Jones ranks third 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 (fifth) 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.


The Cincinnati, Ohio, native 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. Jones 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 these All-America honors. 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.”


“It’s a great honor to be named First-Team All-American, but it’s really a team award,” Jones said. “The D-line did a great job this year, freeing up the linebackers to make plays. That’s the way our system works, and that’s why I love it so much. I really do give a lot of credit to the D-line, and I tell them before every game that I need them because everything starts up front. We have to win the job up front, if I’m going to have opportunities to make plays. It’s my job to help those guys out as much as I can by making the right calls. So it’s all tied together.”


Jones 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, he 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.


Michigan State (6-6, 4-4 Big Ten) will face Texas Tech (8-4, 5-3 Big 12) in the 17th annual Valero Alamo Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas. The Valero Alamo Bowl will be televised nationally by ESPN with kickoff set for 9 p.m. EST.



Photo Courtesy of Starr Portice
Photo Courtesy of Starr Portice