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Julio Jones

Julio Jones
Jones in January 2013
No. 11     Atlanta Falcons
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1989-02-03) February 3, 1989 (age 25)
Place of birth: Foley, Alabama
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school: Foley (AL)
College: Alabama
NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
Debuted in 2011 for the Atlanta Falcons
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2013

Quintorris Lopez "Julio" Jones[6][7] (born February 3, 1989) is an American football wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Falcons with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of Alabama. During his sophomore season with Alabama in 2009, he helped lead the Tide to an undefeated 14-0 season including a victory in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game.

High school career

Jones attended Foley High School in Foley, Alabama, where he played for the Foley LIONS high school football team from 2004–2007. During his high school career, Jones quickly achieved recognition from outstanding statistics. In his junior year, he caught 75 passes for 1,306 yards and had 16 touchdowns. He participated in the High School Under Armour All-America Game and ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at the Baton Rouge Nike camp in May 2007, where the 6-foot-4-inch (1.93 m) senior weighed in at 215 pounds (98 kg) and also recorded an event-best 38.6-inch (980 mm) vertical jump.

The attention surrounding Jones soon elevated to a national level. Sports Illustrated likened him to wide receiver Terrell Owens, noting he had "great strength, amazing jumping ability and uncanny speed for such a big player."[8] Entering February 2008, Jones was one of the most highly rated and sought after high school football recruits in the country. National recruiting outlets Rivals.com and Scout.com awarded him a 5-star rating, the maximum any recruit can have.[9][10] He was ranked nationally as the #2 overall prep prospect for any position by ESPN[11] and #4 overall by Rivals.com.[12] On both lists, he was the top recruit for the receiver position.

Recruitment

Jones and fellow-receiver A.J. Green led a 2008 NCAA recruiting class that is dubbed as being the class that brings back the tall, physical receiver.[8] Being one of the top prep players in the country, many college teams sought his signature on a National Letter of Intent. As the recruiting process began to wind down, he narrowed his choices to five schools: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech.[13] On February 6, 2008, Jones ended all speculation and committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide on National Signing Day, announcing his decision live on ESPNU[13]

College career

Freshman

Jones quickly became an impact player and fan favorite with the Crimson Tide. In the opening game of the 2008 season, Jones became the first true freshman receiver to start in a season opener for the Crimson Tide,[14] as he started against the Clemson Tigers in the 2008 Chick-fil-A College Kickoff. In the game, Jones caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown in a 34–10 rout.[15] In a 41–30 win over the #3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs, Jones had a breakout performance as he caught five passes for 94 yards, including a 22–yard touchdown reception from John Parker Wilson.[16][17] His first 100–yard receiving game occurred in the annual rivalry game versus Tennessee, as Jones had six receptions for 103 yards en route to a 29–9 victory.[18] However, two weeks later versus #16 LSU, Jones topped his previous performance with 7 catches for 128 yards.[19] His 23–yard reception in overtime set up a game-winning touchdown by John Parker Wilson,[20] giving Alabama a 27–21 victory.[21] In the 2008 SEC Championship Game, Jones caught five passes for 124 yards versus a talented Florida Gators secondary.[22] In the first quarter, Jones caught a 64–yard pass which set up the Crimson Tide's first score of the game.[23] However, Alabama fell to #2 Florida 31–20, giving the Crimson Tide their first loss of the year.[24]

On December 8, the Southeastern Conference announced the annual All-SEC first team, second team, and individual awards, as voted by the Associated Press. Jones was named to the second team All-SEC, SEC Freshman of the Year,[5] and the SEC Coaches' All-Freshman Team.[25] Jones finished the regular season with 58 receptions, 924 yards, and four touchdowns.[26] His performance in only his freshman year drew comparisons to NFL greats. ESPN.com reported, "This guy is a unique, rare prospect for the wide receiver position with his supreme blend of size, power, speed and agility. He reminds us of a high school version of Michael Irvin, but at this stage Jones is more explosive and faster."[27] An NFL scout put Jones in the same category as Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who at the time was the second-leading receiver in the NFL.[28]

Sophomore

Preceding the 2009 football season, Julio Jones was voted to the All-SEC Coaches' Football Team (first team), one of only four players to be voted such unanimously (along with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Tennessee safety Eric Berry and LSU offensive lineman Ciron Black).[29]

Jones and Alabama again opened their season at the Georgia Dome, this time facing Virginia Tech for the 2009 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. However, the Crimson Tide's rushing game dominated the game, led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner and teammate, Mark Ingram. Jones finished the game with four receptions for 46 yards,[30] with Alabama winning the game 34–24.[31] His first touchdown of the season would not come until the end of September, as the Tide routed the Arkansas Razorbacks 35–7 in Tuscaloosa.[32] Jones caught a 50–yard touchdown pass from quarterback Greg McElroy, coming from a trick play, to put Alabama up 14–0 midway through the first quarter.[33] He would finish the game with two catches for 65 yards.[33]

After experiencing what some writers called a "sophomore slump",[34][35] Jones's production increased during the second half of the 2009 season. In a rivalry game against LSU, Jones had his first 100–yard performance of the season.[36] He finished with four catches for 102 yards, including a 73–yard game winning touchdown in Alabama's 24–15 victory.[37][38] In the annual Iron Bowl game against rival Auburn, Jones was instrumental in capping a come-from-behind victory, catching three crucial third-down passes in an 8-minute, 80 yard drive that fans call "The Drive" to set up Roy Upchurch's game-winning touchdown in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter.[39]

Alabama continued through the regular season undefeated at 12–0, working their way to a SEC Championship matchup with the Florida Gators. Jones made the first catch of the game, an 18–yard catch from McElroy.[40] The Crimson Tide won the game 32–13,[41] earning a chance to play for the BCS National Championship in the 2010 title game against the Texas Longhorns.[42][43] His 23 yards receiving led the Tide in the title game, as the passing game struggled.[44] However, the running game again took over, and led Alabama to a 37–21 victory.[45][46]

Junior

Heading into the 2010 season, Jones was voted a member of the Pre-Season All-SEC and Pre-Season Playboy All American teams.

Jones kicked off his season with a 6 catch, 93 yard performance that including a touchdown catch from AJ McCarron in the win over San Jose State The following week, Jones once again led the team in receiving with 49 yards on 4 catches in a 24-3 win over 18th ranked Penn State. Jones then had his first 100 yard performance of the season with a 5 catch, 106 yard, 1 TD game against Duke.

Alabama kicked off the SEC season with a win over the 10th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. In the game Jones had 5 catches for 55 yards and then only had 4 catches for 19 yards the following week in the Tide's blowout win over 7th ranked Florida. Jones, however, had the longest punt return of his career with a 41 yard return that set up a Mark Ingram TD run. Jones rebounded with an 8 catch, 118 yard, 1 TD game the following week in Alabama's first loss of the season, at South Carolina.

The following week Jones only caught one pass for 8 yards in a blowout win over Ole Miss but then rebounded with the biggest game of his career against Tennessee. Jones set the single game Alabama record in receiving yards (221) in a single game on 12 catches (2nd in Alabama history in a single game). Jones had his second straight 10 catch game when he had 10 catches for 89 yards and a TD against 12th ranked LSU the next week in Alabama's 2nd loss. He also had a 31 yard Kickoff Return as well. Against Mississippi State Jones only had 3 catches for 41 yards but also had his first career rushing TD when he turned a reverse into a 56 yard TD run.

Jones had his first 2 TD game of his career the next week against Georgia State along with 7 catches and 86 yards. The next week in Alabama's heart breaking Iron Bowl loss against 2nd ranked Auburn Jones had another huge performance with 10 catches, 199 yards, and a 68 yard TD. Jones added 65 yards in Kickoff Returns as well. The Junior closed out his Alabama career in the Capital One Bowl as Alabama blew out 7th ranked Michigan State. Jones had 3 catches for 49 yards and also had a 35 yard TD as well for his 2nd rushing TD of the year and his 9th total TD of the year.

Jones ended his Junior campaign with an Alabama record 78 catches and 1,133 yards along with 7 TDs (4th in school history). He also had 8 rushes for 135 yards and 2 TDs along with 5 punt returns for 44 yards and 5 kickoff returns for 129 yards. Jones ended his Alabama career 2nd in career receptions (179) and yards (2,653) and 4th in TD catches (15). He had 8 career 100 receiving games (2nd in school history). Jones was a unanimous 1st Team All-SEC selection in 2010.

College career statistics

Year GP–GS Rushing Receiving Punt Returns Kick Returns
Att Gain Loss Net Avg TD Long Avg/G Rec Rec–Yards Avg TD Long Avg/G No. Yards Avg TD Long No. Yards Avg TD Long
2008[47] 14–14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 58 924 15.9 4 64 66 2 11 5.5 0 10 1 21 21 0 21
2009[48] 13–13 2 5 1 4 2 0 5 0.3 43 596 13.9 4 73 45.8 5 75 15 0 33 1 12 12 0 12
2010[49] 13–13 8 135 0 135 16.9 2 56 10.4 78 1,133 14.5 7 68 87.2 5 44 8.8 0 41 5 129 25.8 0 36
Total 10 140 1 139 13.9 2 56 3.5 179 2,653 14.8 15 73 66.3 12 130 10.8 0 41 7 162 23.1 0 36

Professional career

Pre-draft

On January 7, 2011, Jones decided to skip his senior season of college football, instead he chose to declare eligibility for the NFL Draft with teammates Mark Ingram, Greg McElroy, and Marcell Dareus.[50][51] Jones was later invited to the "All-Star Football Challenge", a skill contest shown by ESPN on February 4.[52] He excelled at the 2011 NFL Combine, posting the longest long jump and the third fastest 40-yard dash among receivers,[53] despite having a broken bone in his foot.

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons selected Jones with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Atlanta had traded five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up into their spot and take Jones, giving up their 27th, 59th, and 124th picks from the 2011 draft, and their first and fourth round picks from the 2012 draft.[54] Jones wears number 11, in tribute to the year he was drafted into the NFL. Jones came to terms with the Falcons on July 28, 2011, signing a four-year contract worth $16.2 million, all of which was guaranteed.[55]

Jones recorded his first NFL touchdown on Week 9 of the 2011 season, against the Indianapolis Colts. He finished the season leading all rookies in touchdown receptions with 8, while his 54 receptions for 959 yards ranked him second among rookies in yardage and touchdowns, behind A. J. Green and third in catches behind Green and Greg Little.

In 2012, Julio had 79 receptions for 1,198 yards, caught 10 touchdowns, and was selected for the 2013 Pro Bowl – his first Pro Bowl nomination. Jones and fellow receiver Roddy White were the first 1,000-yard receiving tandem the Falcons have had since 1998. The team finished the season with a 13-3 record and earned the top seed in the NFC for the NFL playoffs. In the divisional playoff game versus the Seattle Seahawks, Jones recorded his first career interception on the last play of the game defending a Hail Mary pass attempt. On October 9, 2013, it was announced that Jones would be out for the rest of the season after injuring his foot.[56]

Awards and honors

References

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Pro-Football-Reference
  • Alabama Crimson Tide bio
  • Atlanta Falcons profile
  • NFL Combine profile

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