EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, who led the team in tackles (73) during the regular season, has been named first-team Freshman All-American by both Rivals.com and Scout.com.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Jones ranks first among Big Ten freshmen with 73 stops, including 35 solos and 38 assists. He ranks fourth on the team in tackles for loss (7.5 for 23) and sacks (3.5 for 15 yards). He averaged a team-leading 6.5 tackles per game in Big Ten play.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native has appeared in all 12 games, including six straight starts at SAM linebacker. As a starter, Jones is averaging 7.7 tackles per game.
"Greg Jones played himself into a starting position during the second half of the season, and he's been an outstanding special teams player throughout the entire year," Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio said. "Greg is a big-play guy, who plays with a tremendous amount of effort. He's an instinctive player, who seeks contact. Greg comes to the field every day with a willingness to work. He's going to be an outstanding player for us for the next three years."
Jones recorded double-figure tackles in back-to-back games against top-ranked Ohio State (season-high 14 stops) and Iowa (11). He also compiled a season-best 33 production points against the Buckeyes, including 1.5 tackles for loss (7 yards) and two hits on the quarterback.
He made eight stops (3-5) against Northwestern in his first career start, including 1.5 for losses (2). Jones produced five tackles (2-3) against Pittsburgh, including two behind the line of scrimmage (6 yards). He posted six tackles, including five solo hits, against Bowling Green. In his collegiate debut against UAB, Jones registered seven stops (5-2), including a 6-yard sack.
Jones also leads the Spartan special teams in tackles with 12 - all coming on kickoff coverage.
"Coming into this season, I just wanted to get some playing time," Jones said. "During preseason camp, Coach (Dantonio) D and Coach (Mike) Tressel told me that they would give me an opportunity and that's all I could have asked for. I just tried to do my best and take advantage of those opportunities.
"During the second half of the season, I worked on improving my awareness. As I got a better feel for the game, I was really able to pick up my tempo. Coming out of high school, the biggest challenge for me was adjusting to the speed of the game. With the speed and quickness of the players at this level, things develop quickly, so you have to adjust.
"I wouldn't have received this honor without the help of (senior captain) Kaleb Thornhill," Jones continued. "Kaleb really helped me make the transition from high school to college, both on and off the field. At times, he really helped me keep my cool. It's easy to get frustrated with information overload, but Kaleb helped me remain calm so I could play."