YSU receiver Donald Jones has NFL scouts interested
The wide receiver played very well the last half of the 2008 season.
YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown State football team hadn’t even completed its first full week of practice and was just putting on the pads for the first time, but NFL scouts were already in the stadium.
They came to take an early look at No. 81, who many feel just might be the most talented receiver the Penguins have ever had.
Senior Donald Jones, a junior college transfer who joined Youngstown State last season, is getting a lot of attention from the scouts. But the 6-foot-2, 210 pound speedster with great hands has only one thing on his mind right now and that is helping the Penguins to a winning season and a national championship.
Jones, a Plainfield, N.J., native, joined the Penguins last fall after transferring from Lackawanna Community College and was an instant success with the offense.
He missed all the contact work in the spring while recovering from some minor injuries, but it wasn’t that he needed the work and his offensive teammates couldn’t wait to get him back on the field.
“I missed most of spring practice, but that was the first spring practice I’ve ever been to since we didn’t have spring ball in junior college,” Jones said. “I guess you can get kind of rusty, but it all comes right back as soon as you get on the field.”
Jones played in all 12 games for the Penguins last season, starting the last eight, and teamed up with starting quarterback Brandon Summers for 31 catches for a team-best 510 yards and seven touchdowns, the most by a YSU receiver since 1998.
He was also the first Penguin receiver to have caught a touchdown pass in four straight games since Herb Williams in 1992. Six of his seven TD receptions came in conference games and in his last four games he had 16 receptions for 351 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 16.5 yards per catch.
“Brandon and I started to really jell at the end of the season,” Jones said. “But this year we are really working hard on our timing and putting things together. We’re working on signals also, which we didn’t have last year.”
Jones said the Penguins have something to prove this season.
“Nobody expects us to do anything and picked us to finish sixth in the conference,” he said. “There are a lot of players on this team with chips on their shoulders right now and just waiting to prove everybody wrong.
“There is a lot of depth on this team at a lot of positions and as long as we keep everybody healthy we’re just going to be fine,” he added.
Most observers last year felt all the injuries to the defense was what led the team to its disappointing 4-8 finish, but that’s not the case, said Jones.
“It was a combination of the whole team not playing up to their potential and not just the defense. This year everybody is healthy over there and it is going to make a big difference.”
Last year Jones was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s all-newcomer team and is a preseason all-league selection.
In his final season at Lackawanna CC he led the team with 42 receptions for 748 yards and five touchdowns and was named the team’s offensive MVP. He also an all-state performer in high school.
Jones has goals for himself this season, but they also involve the whole team.
“I want to win,” he said. “I want this team to win the national championship. I’d love to be an All-American and then see where I can go from there.”
The NFL scouts are thinking much of the same thing.