Former Charleston High School All-Star linebacker Jonathan Jones is one of the 10 finalists for the 2021 C Spire Conerly Trophy, which recognizes the most outstanding college football player in Mississippi.
The lineup of finalists was announced earlier this week by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson and includes Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers and Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, among others.
The winner will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Country Club of Jackson, 345 Saint Andrews Dr., in Jackson. A 5:30 p.m. reception will be followed by the 6:30 p.m. dinner program and trophy presentation. Coaches and finalists from all the schools are expected to attend. CBS football analyst Charles Davis will be the master of ceremonies for the awards program.
Jones, a graduate student at Mississippi College majoring in kinesiology (pre-physical therapy), led the MC defense with 77 tackles (58 solos and 19 assists), and he also recorded three sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss.
His total tackle count placed him second in the Gulf South Conference in number of stops. For his play during the 2021 season, the 6-1, 223-pound Jones was named second-team All-Gulf South Conference.
A graduate transfer from the University of Southern Mississippi, Jones arrived at Mississippi College in 2019, racking up 55 total tackles, including 8.5 for a loss, as well as two passes defended and two forced fumbles for the Choctaws. He was named second-team All-GSC. For his achievements in the classroom, he was selected to the GSC Academic Honor Roll.
Prior to that, he starred for the Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers from 2017-18. During his career in Senatobia, Jones totaled 111 career tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and three fumble recoveries, earning recognition on JCGridiron.com's Linebacker Watch List.
In his Tallahatchie hometown, Jones was a starring member of the Charleston High School Tigers varsity defense, recording 225 total tackles (184 solos and 41 assists) with five sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five interceptions from his middle linebacker position during his time there.
In 2016, after the Tigers appeared in the Class 3A state championship game for a third consecutive year, Jones was named the Mississippi Class 3A Defensive Player of the Year.
A two-time, first-team All-State selection, Jones played in the 2016 Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.
He was a first-team selection to USA Today's 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Mississippi Football Team and a second-team pick for MaxPreps 2016 Small Schools All-American Football Team.
Jones said Friday that he is honored to be a finalist for the Conerly Award.
"I want to give thanks to God for being here in my life, and without him it wouldn't be possible," he noted. "It means a lot coming from a community such as Sharkey Road, being a product of that environment. It just goes to show the kids in my community that [by] working hard and believing in your dreams, [it] can be done."
Jones credited his parents, Juanita and Jackie Jones, for his successes in life to date.
"They molded me into the player and the person that I am today," he said. "They showed me the true definition of character, humbleness and confidence. They truly sacrificed a lot as I became a young man and they showed me the true value to life. Without their guidance, I wouldn't be the person I am today."