Dec. 17, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State All-American Greg Jones has been named recipient of the 2009 Linebacker Trophy (National Linebacker of the Year) by the College Football Performance Awards. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound junior leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 141 tackles, the eighth-best single-season total in MSU history. The College Football Performance Awards selects recipients exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.
The 2009 CFPA Linebacker Trophy will be formally presented to Jones at halftime of Saturday's MSU-IPFW men's basketball game.
The 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year previously earned First-Team All-America honors from The Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), CollegeFootballNews.com, Rivals.com, CBSSports.com and Phil Steele. He also was recognized as the nation's No. 1 linebacker by CollegeFootballNews.com.
Jones ranks third in the NCAA FBS in tackles per game (11.8), tied for 23rd in sacks (0.75 per game) and tied for 43rd in tackles for loss (1.13 per game). He also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in sacks (fifth) and tackles for loss (tied for eighth at 1.12 per game). Jones leads the team in tackles (141 total), tackles for loss (13.5 for 68 yards), sacks (9.0 for 53 yards) and production points (282). He became the first Spartan to record back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since 2003-04 when both linebacker Ronald Stanley and free safety Jason Harmon reached the milestone.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native reached double-figure tackles for the eighth time this season in MSU's regular-season finale against No. 13 Penn State, matching his career high with 15 tackles. Jones recorded 2.5 tackles for loss (11 yards) against the Nittany Lions, including 1.5 sacks (6 yards).
He also posted double-digit tackles against Montana State (14), Central Michigan (15), Wisconsin (14), Illinois (11), Northwestern (14), Iowa (12) and Minnesota (12). Jones produced a career-best two sacks (9 yards) in MSU's 24-14 Homecoming victory over Northwestern.
"After an extensive review of the existing data, literature and evidence, it was determined that Greg Jones finished the 2009 season with the strongest linebacker performance in the NCAA FBS," CFPA Executive Director Brad Smith said. "Several key factors led to Greg's selection as recipient of the 2009 CFPA Linebacker Trophy, including tackles, tackles for loss and yards lost. Most importantly, though, Greg maintained a consistently high level of performance against a difficult schedule, relative to that of other top performers at the linebacker position."
"Congratulations to Greg Jones for being recognized as the nation's top linebacker by the College Football Performance Awards," MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. "He has a tremendous impact in every game because of his consistent productivity, and Greg has been rewarded for that with the CFPA's methodology. He's an outstanding tackler, who has the knack for making big plays. Greg is an extremely tenacious and instinctive player, who brings great energy and effort every time he steps on to the field. He's definitely a special player and one deserving of this national honor."
"I'm truly humbled by being selected as the 2009 Linebacker Trophy recipient by the College Football Performance Awards," Jones said. "When I look around the nation, but especially around the Big Ten, the linebacker position is stacked with great talent. I'm honored to receive this trophy, but I accept it as a team award.
"I'm definitely proudest of my consistency. I really wanted to remain consistent throughout the season. I know I had a couple of games where I didn't reach double digits (in tackles), but in those games, the team played better and that's most important. I wanted to play well each and every week, and I wanted to help those guys around me play better as well."
Jones has posted double-digit tackles in 15 of his last 19 games overall, averaging 11.9 stops (227 total) during that stretch. A model of consistency, he has led the team in tackles in 22 of the last 25 games.
Jones has started 32 of 38 career games, including 26 consecutive starting assignments. He has 346 career tackles, including 36.0 for losses (139 yards) and 15.5 sacks (87 yards). Jones ranks among NCAA FBS active leaders in tackles per game (fourth with 9.1 avg.) and total tackles (ninth with 346). He already ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles for loss (fifth) and total tackles (tied for ninth). Jones has produced double-figure tackles 17 times in his career.
Michigan State (6-6, 4-4 Big Ten) will face Texas Tech (8-4, 5-3 Big 12) in the 17th annual Valero Alamo Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas. The Valero Alamo Bowl will be televised nationally by ESPN with kickoff set for 9 p.m. EST.