FOLEY, Alabama —Julio Jones’s near 40-inch vertical leap must come in very handy these days. Above the throng of sports reporters and college recruiters may be the only fresh air available as awards and accolades and requests for his time are …
FOLEY, Alabama —Julio Jones’s near 40-inch vertical leap must come in very handy these days. Above the throng of sports reporters and college recruiters may be the only fresh air available as awards and accolades and requests for his time are closing in.
The crowd got even thicker Tuesday as Jones was voted Alabama's Mr. Football and 6A Back of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association in Birmingham.
Not surprised, but pleased with the awards, was Jones’ and the Foley Lions’ head coach Todd Watson.
“Well, you never know how something is going to turn out when people are voting on something,” Watson said. “Julio is certainly deserving, and he has put so much hard work and time into this. He really has earned all the honors and respect he’s getting.”
Humble as well as talented, Jones was quick to thank and credit his teammates and coaches for his own and his team’s accomplishments on the field.
“I think he has handled all this about as well as any one could,” Watson added. “He’s a humble guy and he doesn’t like getting all the attention. He would rather share it with his teammates. He’s just had a ton of (awards) rolling in lately.”
To name a few in addition to the ASWA awards, Jones recently was named the 1st-and-10 Club of Mobile’s Player of the Year, the WKRG-TV5 Taco Bell Player of the Year as well as the statewide Gatorade Football Player of the Year for Alabama.
On Tuesday, Hancock Bank presented Foley High School with a $500 check on behalf of the Lions’ senior to recognize his achievements on the field and in the classroom.
The annual Mr. Football awards luncheon was held at Birmingham-Southern College and hosted by The Birmingham News.
Meanwhile Jones and teammate Robert Lester are busy playing basketball and getting ready for Monday night’s Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic football contest at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Lions will get to team up with former foes in Daphne High players Kynjee Cotton and Reggie Hunt.
The last time the four got together they were adversaries in the nationally televised region matchup at Ivan Jones Stadium in Foley with the Lions winning 16-14 to remain undefeated before one of the largest viewing audiences in local high-school football history.
After that game, Daphne quarterback Coley White, brother of Patrick White who was a contender for the 2003 Mr. Football award, said Jones was the difference in that contest.
“Julio is a play maker and he made the plays that he had to and won the game.”
Jones, who is also the No. 1 college prospect for the ESPN 150, plans to announce his choice Feb 6, on National Signing Day.
Among some of the larger schools pursuing him are: Clemson, Colorado, Florida, LSU, Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Oklahoma, USC, Texas Tech and Alabama.
Under Watson, Jones helped lead the Lions to a 12-1 record in 2007. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound multi-sport senior, finished the 2007 season with 69 catches good for 1,133 yards and 18 touchdowns sitting out at least a portion of three games, mostly for precautionary reasons to mend some relatively minor bumps and bruises. In his junior season, he tallied 75 receptions for 1,301 yards and found the endzone 21 times. As a 10th grader, he reeled in 51 receptions for 805 yards and scored eight touchdowns.
A top state high jumper, long and triple jumper as well as a sprinter, he has recorded a 4.56 second forty-yard dash.