In our sixth installment in this series we were able to catch up with former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Terrence Jones. To get the full transcript of our interview, click here:
Thousands of kids across the state of Alabama have a dream to play football for the Crimson Tide. An opportunity coveted by so many but afforded only to a select few. With NCAA regulations permitting universities to sign only 25 players per year, many players throughout the state get left out as they compete nationally for one of those spots. In 2003, Terrence Jones not only received the offer, but did so with an even shorter amount of scholarships given out that year due to probation.
To play for The University of Alabama is a privilege and no one better understands that than Jones. As a Tuscaloosa native, Jones grew up rooting for the Tide as he cheered from his residence in Fosters which is only a few miles from Tuscaloosa city limits.
Jones was one of the unsung heroes for the Tide as he was stuck backing up quite possibly the greatest linebacker in Alabama history in DeMeco Ryans for three years. However, that did not stop him from becoming one of the more beloved and respected players on the team for his commitment and dedication to special teams and package plays in which he assisted some of the greatest defenses in the BCS era for the Tide.
To say Jones had an obstacle in front of him is an understatement. If not for the sanctions and scholarship limitations, it’s plausible to believe Jones would have redshirted in 2003 instead of forced into being a special teams star. While the experience served him well, a long shadow was cast in front of him as Ryans continued to gain notoriety. If you ask any player on that team, Jones would have started anywhere else in the SEC or the country for that matter, but Jones most certainly did not pout or make excuses.
He was an Alabama man. Alabama men don’t run from challenges and cry when obstacles are in their way. They continue to work, battle, and do whatever it takes to get noticed by playing hard for their team — and that’s exactly what Jones did.
In 2005, despite Ryans having a sensational senior season, it was impossible to keep Jones off the field. There were many times Jones would line up and make plays for that defense because the coaching staff believed his abilities were much too significant to have standing on the sidelines. Take for instance that same year against the LSU Tigers. In a tightly contested game, time after time, Jones made his way into the backfield to pressure JaMarcus Russell and while the stat sheet only credits him with two quarterback hurries and a couple of tackles, the impact was felt greatly by Tide fans and one that gave Jones the appropriate recognition and a lifetime memory. According to Jones, “Personally for me when we played LSU is one of my best games. I made a few plays that were definitely a confidence builder and to have done it against them… I’ll take that LSU game as one of my most memorable games.”
Jones winded up starting in 2006 and played well despite losing seven starters. He followed this up by winning a MVP award in a senior all-star game. While Jones did not make it to the NFL, the former Tuscaloosa County High School star still has aspirations to possibly get back into football as a coach. He’s beginning to settle down with his family and is a successful manager for a cellphone company.
If you ask Jones though, his dream was fulfilled a long time ago when he stepped foot on the Alabama football field realizing he was now a part of the greatest program in college football. Very few get the chance to say that and can only dream. For Jones, it became a reality.