Jones repeats as FWAA All-American
Published 7:45 am Monday, December 13, 2010
EAST LANSING — Michigan State senior linebacker Greg Jones, who helped lead the Spartans to a school-record 11 wins and a share of their first Big Ten Championship in 20 years, has been named First-Team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Jones is one of two repeat selections from last year’s FWAA All-America Team, joining Florida State offensive guard Rodney Hudson.
The FWAA All-America Team, selected in some form since 1944, is the second-longest continuously published team in major college football. The 2010 FWAA All-America Team was announced Saturday for the seventh-straight season during a one-hour show on ABC-TV.
Jones recently earned First-Team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), CBSSports.com and Scout.com.
Jones leads the Spartans in tackles (98), forced fumbles (3) and quarterback hurries (6) and ranks second in tackles for loss (8 for 18 yards). He also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in forced fumbles (tied for second) and tackles (sixth at 8.2 per game). He anchors a Spartan defensive unit that ranks third in the Big Ten and No. 21 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing defense, allowing 121.9 yards per game. Jones recently became MSU’s seventh three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and the first since punter Brandon Fields (2003, 2004 and 2006).
A model of consistency, Jones has led the team in tackles in 30 of the last 38 games and is attempting to become only the second player in MSU history to lead the Spartans in tackles for four-straight seasons (linebacker Dan Bass, 1976-79).
“Greg Jones accomplished a goal (winning the Big Ten Championship) and was powerful enough to bring the entire team’s play up to his level,” MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. “That’s what great linebackers do.
“He’s an incredible athlete with tremendous instincts that put him on the ball every snap. In four years here at Michigan State, I have watched him improve like no other player I have coached in 20 years.”
“Greg Jones came back (for his senior season) to win a Big Ten Championship,” Spartan linebackers coach Mike Tressel said. “As usual, he accomplished his goal.
“Everyone we face has to design blocking schemes to account for No. 53 first. Despite all of the attention he receives from opposing teams, Greg consistently performs at a high level. He is indeed a special player.”
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 touchdown run, while his second-quarter pick set up Le’Veon Bell’s second touchdown 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 has started 45 of 51 career games, including 39 consecutive starting assignments (tied for team high with linebacker Eric Gordon). He has 457 career tackles, including 44.5 for losses (158 yards) and 16.5 sacks (93 yards). Jones ranks among the FBS active leaders in total tackles (third), tackles per game (eighth at 9.0) and tackles for loss (tied for seventh). He also ranks among MSU’s all-time leaders in tackles for loss (second), total tackles (third) and sacks (sixth).
The seventh-ranked Spartans (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) will play No. 15 Alabama (9-3, 5-3 SEC) in the Capital One Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. The Capital One Bowl will be televised nationally by ESPN with kickoff set for 1 p.m. EST. Michigan State is making its fourth-straight postseason bowl appearance for the first time since 1987-90, matching the longest bowl streak in school history.