June 8, 2011
Michigan State announced its major athletic award winners for 2010-11 on Wednesday, and for the second straight year, Greg Jones was named the George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year. Jones is the first back-to-back Alderton male winner since Jeff Lerg (2007-08) and just the fourth since the inception of the award in 1982 (Lerg, Mateen Cleaves and Ron Scott).
GEORGE ALDERTON MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR(Presented to top male athlete of 2010-11)
WINNER: Greg Jones (Football)
In a storied program rich with tradition, Greg Jones left his mark as one of the top football players in Michigan State history.
He became the first Spartan to earn consensus All-America honors in back-to-back seasons since defensive end Charles "Bubba" Smith and roverback George Webster in 1965-66, and also became MSU's ninth unanimous All-America selection and the first since wide receiver Charles Rogers in 2002.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Jones earned 2010 First-Team All-America honors from The Associated Press, Sporting News, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Walter Camp Football Foundation, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), SI.com, CBSSports.com, Scout.com and Phil Steele. He was the only repeat selection from last year's AP All-America First Team. Jones became only the second Spartan player ever to earn AP First-Team All-America honors in back-to-back seasons, joining Webster (1965-66). He also became MSU's seventh three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and the first since punter Brandon Fields (2003, 2004 and 2006).
Jones led the Spartans in tackles (106), tackles for loss (10 for 20 yards), forced fumbles (3), quarterback hurries (6) and production points (219). He became the first Spartan to reach the 100-tackle milestone in three straight seasons since Percy Snow (1987-89). Jones also ranked among the Big Ten leaders in forced fumbles (tied for second) and tackles (seventh at 8.2 per game). He anchored a Spartan defensive unit that ranked fifth in the Big Ten and No. 37 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing defense, allowing 133.7 yards per game.
A model of consistency, Jones led the team in tackles in 31 of the last 39 games and became only the second player in MSU history to lead the Spartans in tackles for four-straight seasons (linebacker Dan Bass, 1976-79).
"Last year, it was humbling to win the George Alderton Award, especially when you consider (wrestler) Franklin Gomez was also in the running," Jones said. "Now to have won it again simply blows my mind. (First baseman) Jeff Holm had a remarkable season, earning All-Big Ten and All-America honors en route to helping the baseball team win its first conference title since 1979. We had very similar years, so I congratulate him because he's certainly worthy of this honor as well.
"I'm truly honored and excited to once again be the recipient. I looked up to Mateen Cleaves as a kid and to know that he also won this prestigious award twice is amazing.
"I wouldn't trade my last four years at Michigan State for anything. I made a commitment to the football program when I decided to return for my senior year, but I shared that same commitment with all of my teammates and it was that mindset that helped us win a Big Ten Championship. I was fortunate to be one of the leaders on last year's team, and it meant the world to me to hold that position of leadership. We had a shared goal and that dream came true, winning a Big Ten title. I'm so thankful to all of my teammates and coaches at Michigan State; it's been an incredible journey."
Jones, who posted a season-high 14 stops in a 26-6 Homecoming victory over Illinois, was named National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation as well as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He also was credited with a pass break-up and a quarterback hurry.
The second-year captain recorded eight tackles, including a season-best three for losses, in No. 24 MSU's 34-24 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin. The Spartan defense held Wisconsin to 165 rushing yards - nearly 93 yards below its season average. The Badgers entered the game ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 10 in the NCAA FBS in rushing, averaging 257.5 yards per game.
Jones, who recorded two interceptions, four tackles and forced a fumble in MSU's 45-7 victory over Northern Colorado, was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. He recorded the first two interceptions of his career against the Bears, with both leading to MSU scores.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native started 46 of 52 career games, including 40 consecutive starting assignments (tied for team high with linebacker Eric Gordon). He made 465 career tackles, including 46.5 for losses (160 yards) and 16.5 sacks (93 yards). Jones ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles for loss (second), total tackles (third) and sacks (sixth).
"Congratulations to Greg Jones for being recognized as Michigan State's top male athlete for the second year in a row," MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio said. "He is in rare company, becoming only the fourth male athlete in MSU history to win the award in back-to-back years.
"Greg closed out his collegiate career as one of the most decorated defensive players in Spartan history and that speaks volumes. He made a statement and validated our football program when he elected to pass on the NFL Draft and return to Michigan State for his senior year. Greg was driven to become a Big Ten Champion. He believed in this program, and over the last four years has helped shape and change the culture here. We're proud of all of his individual accomplishments. He is on track to graduate and will continue to be a great ambassador for our football program."
PAST WINNERS - ALDERTON MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:
2010-Greg Jones (football); 2009-Franklin Gomez (wrestling); 2008-Jeff Lerg (hockey); 2007-Jeff Lerg (hockey); 2006-Brad Gebauer (track and field); 2005-Nick Simmons (wrestling); 2004-Jeff Smoker (football); 2003-Charles Rogers (football); 2002-Paul Terek (track and field); 2001-Ryan Miller (hockey); 2000-Mateen Cleaves (basketball); 1999-Mateen Cleaves (basketball) and Mike York (hockey); 1998-Chad Alban (hockey); 1997-Reid Friedrichs (soccer); 1996-David Morgan (wrestling); 1995-Shawn Respert (basketball); 1994-Emilio Collins (wrestling); 1993-Bryan Smolinski (hockey); 1992-Anthony Hamm (cross country/track and field); 1991-Steve Smith (basketball); 1990-Kip Miller (hockey) and Percy Snow (football); 1989-Bobby Reynolds (hockey); 1988-Todd Krumm (football/baseball); 1987-Don McSween (hockey); 1986-Mike Donnelly (hockey), Lorenzo White (football), Scott Skiles (basketball); 1985-Sam Vincent (basketball); 1984-Carl Banks (football); 1983-Ron Scott (hockey); 1982-Ron Scott (hockey).