Jones ready for next step

Published 9:08 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Spring football practice went by like a blur at Troy University this season. Eyes were fixated on the two quarterbacks vying for the top honor, while others were wondering just how good this defense could be.

Another question was also floated around camp this spring and that was how big of a step forward Marcus Jones can take in year number two.

Jones took the Sun Belt Conference by storm last season by averaging 30.31 yards per return. That ranked him eighth nationally among freshman. It also ranked him fourth best in school and conference history. Jones returned three kickoffs for touchdowns including two against Coastal Carolina, which tied an NCAA record. On the defensive side of the ball, Jones recorded an interception that he returned 100 yards for a touchdown against Arkansas State in the season finale. Jones also had a 99-yard kickoff return to begin the scoring against the Red Wolves. Jones was named to three all-american teams this offseason.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

This year, Jones participated in spring practice for the first time for the Trojans and the sophomore got everything out of it that he could.

“It helped me out a lot,” Jones said. “Us, as a team, we are working on us. We don’t have a game plan or anything like that. That allows us to work on ourselves and get better.”

Jones has his sights on getting bigger and faster this offseason. He weighed 173 lbs. coming out of spring practice and he hopes to add a little muscle leading into fall camp.

“Coming into next year I want to get my weight right,” Jones said. “I am kind of light right now. I want to be all muscle and be around 177 lbs. I want to keep my weight right and play ball.”

When the season ended a year ago, the Trojans’ defense ranked near the top nationally in many different categories. The Trojans led the nation in red zone defense, ranked seventh in rushing defense and 11th in scoring defense and 24th overall. Jones plans on the defense taking another step forward in 2018.

“We actually have a little motto that we go by, ‘never satisfied defense,’” Jones said. “Even though we stop somebody coaching is always on us. We can always do better.”

As for special teams, opposing coaches may have a hard time scheming up a way to stop the returners of Troy that include both Jones and Jabir Daughtry-Frye.

“Some people can do different game plans,” Jones said. “We are just going to focus on us. We can’t control the kickoffs. If we can get everything right, we can be very dangerous.”