By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Something clicked for Chris Jones. It may have been his move from Nettleton to Houston but whatever it was, it earned him a national name.
Houston’s senior defensive end is the Daily Journal’s 2012 Defensive Player of the Year.
Jones is large (6-foot-7, 255 pounds). He was also largely unknown coming into the season. He went from unknown to highly sought in a matter of months, from outside 247Sports’ rankings to No. 15 nationally.
“You get out what you put it. I say that all the time. I put in a lot. I got out a lot,” Jones said.
Jones feels like transferring schools caused him to stay off the radar. He had six tackles per game as a sophomore, then transferred to live with his sick grandmother. He played only six games as a junior at Houston as the MHSAA established his new residency.
He still led the team in tackles per game, 9.4, and had a team-second five sacks.
“When I went to Houston, things changed,” Jones said. “I started working hard, hitting the weight room.”
Jones committed to Mississippi State during the summer and led the Hilltoppers with more than 11 tackles per game, had 14 sacks and 49 hurries.
One of his 10 double-figure tackle games (13) came in a win against Bruce.
“He did what he usually does,” Bruce receiver Jay Jones said after the game. “He gets to the quarterback and stops the run.”
Jones is a basketball star, too. He led Houston with 14.8 points per game and made the North roster for the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Game last season.
Other schools are still after him.
“Ole Miss – you know Ole Miss,” Jones said, then smiled.
He said Oklahoma and Nebraska have also made contact. He’ll play in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 4 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
So far, he hasn’t given MSU fans anything to worry about.
“100 percent, 100 percent,” he said.