College Spotlight: Jones’ love for the game keeps him on the field, even when he’s not

Austin Jones is well-remembered being a max effort ‘Swiss Army Knife’ player at Rabun County. He was a vital part of the Wildcats’ 2017 run to the state championship game, and found himself on the field virtually every snap of every game. His prep career showed how versatile, athletic, and consistent he was. That’s what has made his college career so frustrating at times, as he’s spent more time off the field while trying to get healthy. While that has dampened his statistics, it has only crafted him into an even more driven young man with a relentless ability to overcome any obstacle.

austin-jones-rabun-furman

College Spotlight Framed Print (11×17) – Austin Jones

College Spotlight Framed Print (11×17) – Austin Jones

$32.99

The injuries have been plentiful for Jones, as he recalls them all.

“Freshman year I got my appendix taken out and couldn’t lift or practice for one month,” says Jones. “I got back during camp and had a grade 3 tear in my hamstring that put me out for the year. My sophomore year COVID cancelled, my junior spring season I played in the first few games and then injured my other hamstring which put me out for the last few games. My junior fall I played two games and then reinjured my hamstring and came back for a couple of games and then injured my neck. This injury is still persisting and I am waiting on an MRI to see if I will be able to play this season. The initial MRI showed some spinal cord changes.”

Jones is awaiting word on the MRI, and feels fine otherwise.

“Aside from the neck injury I feel as though I am in a decent place physically, it just all depends on what the doctor finds in my next MRI as to whether or not I will be able to play,” states Jones.

Like most people, it’s when you experience trials and times of waiting that you learn something about yourself. That holds true for Jones.

I” have learned that I care about the game more than I previously knew when it was taken away and the hard work that is put in is seemingly going to waste,” adds Jones. “I am also still learning how to be patient because I am still going through injury setbacks. Going through every season with an outstanding injury is tough to deal with, but I think it will better prepare me for time after football.”

For the most part, Jones’ determination comes from that passion he has for the game of football.

“I’ve had a love/hate relationship with football lately,” admits Jones. “It has always been a normality in my life that I fall back on in tough times, but it seems like it has been the cause of my tough times lately. As for my love of the game, I truly believe that most people in my situation would have hung it up. I care about the game and what it can do for you after the last whistle blows as well.”

Furman has high expectations after going 6-5 last season. That said, the players have goals they have set for their team and themselves.

“Personally, I just want to be healthy enough to play and enjoy my last season with my team,” says Jones. “As a team, this year we have goals such as winning an FBS game and going undefeated in the conference to get an outright championship and make a run in the playoffs. I feel like this team has a lot of chemistry and recruiting has been strong in recent years.”

As hinted by Jones, the 2022 season will likely mark the end of his time at Furman, regardless of his extra year of eligibilty.

“Due to many different variables, I believe that this will be my last year at Furman and the last year I play ball,” says Jones. “Healthwise, I think that is a smart choice for me.”

What makes Jones so dangerous is that if/when he gets clearance to get back on the field, he will leave every bit of his game on it, playing like it’s the last snap he’ll ever play.

Jones, a 3-time All-State talent for the Wildcats, had 2,282 career receiving yards and 24 TDs. He also had 1,112 punt/kick return yards and 5 TD, and added 354 tackles (18 for loss), 10 interceptions, 15 pass deflections, and a pair of forced fumbles in his time in Tiger. He tallied 3,556 all-purpose yards and 31 scores.

Furman opens its 2022 season on September 1 against North Greenville University.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s