Last season as a sophomore, Will Jones had a nominal influence for the Mansfield Summit football team’s offense. This season, both he and coaches expect him to have a significant impact — possibly on both sides of the ball.
“I like to play offense, but I’m going to work hard at whatever side of the ball [coach Channon Hall] wants me on,” Jones said. “If he throws me in on offense, then I’m going to go hard on the offensive side. If he wants me to play defense, I’ll go hard on defense. If he wants me to play both, I’ll go hard at both.”
Jones saw varsity snaps as a wide receiver and running back last season, contributing eight receptions, including one for a touchdown, as well as 47 yards rushing on four attempts. But this upcoming season, he’s expected to fill the shoes of graduated all-district cornerback Tony Johnson.
“Defense is really exciting,” Jones said. “If the defense is working out, the offense will work out, too.”
Jones has experience in the defensive backfield, playing in middle school and as a freshman.
“Lock-down, physical and fast-paced,” Jones self-described his defensive play. “I don’t slow down; everything is with speed.”
Speed is one of the attributes Jaguars coach Hall is quick to note about Jones, who was accomplished in track and field this past year. He posted a sub-22 seconds in the 200-meters and cleared 22 feet 11 inches in long jump.
Jones said competing in track and field helps on the gridiron in more ways that just being fast.
“Discipline,” he said. “In track, you have to run a lot and do some things you don’t want to do. That comes into play on the football field with conditioning and discipline.”
Just as important will be the critical experience Jones gained at the varsity level a year ago.
Everybody seems hyped up and healthy. Everybody is coming together as one, so we’re excited.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “Everything was new, but I learned a lot about the pace of the game and how everything is a little bit different. I feel it prepared me for this upcoming season. Now I know everything to expect.”
Jones also knows the expectations of the coaching staff, now in its second full season.
“Everything is moving really smoothly,” Jones said of the second year under Hall. “All the coaches are helping us as a team get mentally and physically prepared for this season. We’re all good.”
With 7 on 7 finished, it’s now a matter of getting through the dog days of summer and into camp. And Jones is ready.
“We’ve got some new players, everybody has a lot of energy,” he said. “Everybody seems hyped up and healthy. Everybody is coming together as one, so we’re excited.”