Let’s not spend the bye week worrying about whether quarterback Brett Hundley is any good. Let’s spend it on fantasizing over just how good running back Aaron Jones might be in the pros. He’s already a high school and college legend in Texas.
This guy came seemingly out of nowhere. Though born in Georgia, he played both high school and college ball in El Paso, Texas. He was a star at UTEP for four years running, though injuries shortened his 2013 and 2015 seasons. He’s 22 years old.
I’m starting with the finish, as you might not have the patience to wade through a sampling of what Jones has accomplished in high school and college.
In eight years, he excelled with utter consistency. He ran for huge yardage, he was a touchdown machine, he came up with innumerable big plays, especially long touchdown sprints. He played best when against the best opponents, and he got better with each passing year.
While churning out yardage, he always was productive. In his four years at UTEP his yards per carry went from 5.2 to 5.5 to 6.5 to 7.7. His yards per game went from 90 to 110 to 105 to 147. His longest runs of the season went from 81 to 73 to 91 to 83.
His Football Resume
The school’s athletics website lists him as leaving UTEP with 18 sports awards, including: College Football News All-Freshman Honorable Mention (2013); Athlon Sports Freshman All-America Third Team (2013); C-USA All Freshman Team (2013); Dave Campbell Texas Running Back of the Year (2014); All-C-USA Second Team (2014); Maxwell Award Watch List (2015); All-C-USA Preseason First Team (2015); All-C-USA Honorable Mention (2015); Athlon Sports Preseason All-C-USA Second Team (2016); and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose, Maxwell Award, and Doak Walker Watch Lists (2016).
- At Burges HS in El Paso, All-District wide receiver his sophomore season
- As a running back in his junior year, compiled over 1,400 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns
- Amassed more than 1,800 yards rushing and accounted for 30 touchdowns as a senior
- A two-way player, he recorded 74 tackles, an interception, and two forced fumbles in his final year
- Rushed for 335 yards against a solid Wichita Falls defense in the regional playoffs
- Played varsity basketball (El Paso Times All-City selection)
- In track and field, was a member of the 1600-meter relay state championship team
- Opened collegiate career by running for 127 yards on 11 carries (11.5 average) and two TDs against New Mexico
- Dashed 65 yards to the end zone versus New Mexico
- Ran for 186 yards at Rice, including an 81-yard sprint
- Prior to an injury, was ranked second in the nation in rushing yards and rushing yards per game amongst nation’s freshmen
- Tallied three 100+ yard games and six 90+ yard games in an abbreviated season
- Opened the 2014 campaign with a career-best 237 rushing yards and three TDs in win at New Mexico
- Had a 73-yard rushing TD against Lobos
- Amassed 177 yards rushing and two TDs, including a 54-yard ramble, during a win over North Texas
- Produced six 100-yard games and six multiple-touchdown games
- First-ever UTEP sophomore with a 200-yard rushing game
- Had 219 all-purpose yards and two TDs, including a 72-yard reception versus Middle Tennessee
- Led team to its first bowl game since 2010
- Opened 2015 season with six catches and a career-high 83 yards receiving at Arkansas
- During the first half at Texas Tech, before going down with the foot injury, gained 139 rushing yards on 17 carries, including a school-record 91-yard TD rush
- Coming back from 2015 surgery, he opened the season with a 249-yard rushing, three TD, and 292 all-purpose yards versus rival New Mexico State
- Had a 140-yard fourth quarter against the Aggies
- Had 228 yards and two TDs on 14 carries in another game – for a 16.3 average
- Had 127 yards on 16 attempts (7.9 avg.) and a 68-yard rushing TD against Southern Miss
- Against U of Texas at San Antonio, he had a 41-yard rushing TD, and 25- and 27-yard TD catches – leading his team to a five-overtime win
- Averaged 9.1 yards per carry against Florida International, including a 49-yard TD run.
- On the season, tallied seven 100-plus rushing yard games, including three 200-plus yard games and a 300-plus yard contest
- Scored at least one touchdown in 11 games, and 20 TDs on the season
- Nationally, he was ranked fourth in rushing yards and third in yards per game
- Capped his career with a win against North Texas: 301 yards on 24 attempts (12.5 avg.), four rushing touchdowns, and 312 all-purpose yards.
- Set his school’s single season records for rushing yards (1,773), carries (229), and rushing average (7.7), and finished third all-time in touchdowns (17).
- He made six starts as a true freshman in 2013, but missed the final three games due to a broken rib
- In 2014 he missed just one game due to injury.
- In 2015, after getting off to a blazing start the first two games, then tore a ligament in his ankle, requiring surgery and ending his season
- In 2016, he stayed healthy
Hey, I’ve got more. Next time: Aaron Jones trivia.