59ºF

Sandalwood's Chris Jones hoping to make late grandfather proud in NFL Draft

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Every single year there’s a player or two that makes a name for themselves during an NFL training camp and eventually finds their way onto the roster. For example there aren’t many Jaguars fans that had heard of Keelan Cole at this time a year ago. 

Chris Jones played high school football at Sandalwood before moving on to Nebraska. As a junior the cornerback started all 13 games and had 37 tackles, 10 passes defended and three interceptions. That performance got him on the radar of NFL scouts, but a knee injury last July put his senior season in doubt. 

The original prognosis on Jones’ knee injury (meniscus) included a four to six month recovery period. Jones could’ve taken a red-shirt year but instead decided to attack his rehab and started the final six games of his senior year with the Cornhuskers. 

“I’m at 200% health wise, I feel great,” said Jones, who is preparing for the draft here in Jacksonville at Boost Sports performance on the Southside.

For most prospects they’ve had the NFL on their mind going all the way back to middle school. Jones realized his potential to play on Sunday’s much later.

“In high school I knew I was good enough to play in college,” said Jones. “As far as getting ready to go to the NFL that confidence didn’t come until I got to college, I felt like I could make this work.”

Getting an invite to the combine was an opportunity for Jones to prove to NFL scouts that he could play on that level. But just days before making the trip to Indianapolis, Jones learned that his grandfather passed away. 

“It was really hard knowing that I’m really close with my grandparents and very close with my grandpa,” said Jones. “For him to go that close to the combine, it was hard. I wasn’t going to go to the combine but my family told me to go because he wouldn’t want me to miss that for nothing in the world. He knew how hard I’d been working for that opportunity. So I just carried that with me, made it through the combine and I’m still pushing to this day to make him happy. Because he was proud of me when he was here.”