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In his 14 seasons as a college coach, his teams have made a bowl game appearance in 12 of them, including the Rebels’ 2013 Music City Bowl, 2014 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and 2016 Sugar Bowl berths.
Last season, Jones helped junior college transfer Javien Hamilton make a smooth transition to FBS football. In his first season as a Rebel, Hamilton led the team in pass breakups (5) and interceptions (3). C.J. Moore also collected three picks after missing the 2016 season due to injury.
In 2016, Jones helped convert wide receiver Derrick Jones (no relation) into a defensive back. He ranked second on the team with five passes defended and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown against Georgia. The transformation led to Jones getting selected as a defensive back in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.
In 2015, Jones assisted in coordinating a Rebel defense that returned four interceptions for touchdowns, including a pick-six by cornerback Tony Bridges in the Egg Bowl. The four pick-sixes tied a school record that dates back to 1938. In total, Ole Miss ranked second in the SEC with 15 interceptions and third with 23 turnovers throughout the 2015 season.
Jones helped coach All-SEC DB Mike Hilton, a Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist who led all SEC defensive backs with 12.5 tackles for loss. He also brought along inexperienced but talented corners Ken Webster and Bridges to flashes of brilliance in big wins over Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M and Mississippi State.
In 2014, Jones turned one of the most inexperienced units the previous year into one of the most dominant. His cornerbacks helped Ole Miss lead the nation in scoring defense (16.0) and fewest touchdowns allowed (24).
Ole Miss ranked third in the SEC and 16th nationally in passing defense (192.1 ypg), more than 23 fewer yards per game allowed than the previous year. The Rebels also led the SEC and ranked eighth nationally, forcing 32 turnovers, including 22 interceptions, the most in the SEC and fifth-most in the nation.
For his efforts, Jones was tabbed by FootballScoop as the 2014 National Defensive Backs Coach of the Year, along with Dave Wommack.
One of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Award, presented annually to the national defensive player of the year in college football, cornerback Senquez Golson was a consensus first team All-American. He led the SEC and ranked second nationally with a school record-tying 10 interceptions. He was also tied for first in the SEC and fourth nationally with 18 passes defended.
Hilton and Huskie Tony Conner were the Rebels’ top two tacklers in 2014 with 71 and 69 tackles, respectively.
In his first year with the Ole Miss corners, Jones helped teach a young and exciting unit that allowed 31 fewer passing yards per game (215.5 ypg) than a year earlier (246.5 ypg). Despite a number of injuries to the team’s corners, Jones helped guide Golson and Hilton to strong seasons.
Jones arrived in Oxford after five seasons at Oklahoma State, where his teams amassed a 49-16 record.
In his time in Stillwater, Jones coached three different Cowboy corners to First Team All-Big 12 honors and a pair of Thorpe Award semifinalists in Perrish Cox (2009) and Brodrick Brown (2011). Cox was a first team All-American in 2009, as well.
With Jones serving as position coach, Cox led the nation in passes defended per game in 2009 and Brown ranked third in the same category in 2011. As a team, OSU led the nation with 44 turnovers forced in 2011 and was fifth with 34 in 2010.
Jones also helped develop former high school QB Justin Gilbert, who became the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft as a cornerback.
As a unit, the Oklahoma State defense was among the nation’s most opportunistic from 2009-12, as the Cowboys forced 130 turnovers to rank second nationally in that span.
Jones came to Stillwater from Tulsa, where he served as cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator in 2007. He helped the Golden Hurricane to a 10-4 record, an appearance in the Conference USA championship game, and a 63-7 win over Bowling Green in the 2008 GMAC Bowl.
Success has followed Jones at each of his coaching stops. In 2006, Jones served as the cornerbacks coach at Rice University, helping the Owls to their first bowl trip in 45 years as the Owls competed in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
In his first stint at Tulsa, Jones coached cornerbacks and helped the Golden Hurricane to a Conference USA championship and an appearance in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. With Jones leading the Tulsa secondary in 2005, the Hurricane defense ranked third nationally in takeaways (36) and interceptions (22) and was 11th nationally in pass efficiency defense and 17th in pass defense. Jones’ cornerbacks totaled 13 of those interceptions and had 29 passes defended.
His first coaching job came as a graduate assistant at Alabama, where he helped his alma mater to an appearance in the Music City Bowl.
Born Nov. 13, 1977, Jones is a 2001 graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in financial planning. He was a two-year starter at defensive back for the Crimson Tide and was part of three bowl teams, an SEC West championship in 1996 and SEC championship in 1999.
Jones earned a master’s degree from Alabama in sports management in 2005. He and his wife Kysha have four children, Andrew, Jace, Jarah and Jathan.
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