Name: Davon Jones
Position: Running Back
Hometown: Worcester, Massachusetts
High School: St. John's (Shrewsbury)
2016 Stats: Jones was a great surprise at running back in the 2016 season. Despite being recruited at safety, he had not really shown anything in the defensive backfield, and the coaches switched him last spring. He rewarded their judgement and exploded onto the scene this year with a “Marshawn Lynch-esque,” reckless running style that complemented Jon Hilliman’s more understated game. Jones finished the year with 91 rushes for 361 yards and 2 touchdowns, appearing in all 13 games (1 start). Perhaps most memorable, though, was his 14-yard passing touchdown to Tommy Sweeney to beat NC State and break the ACC losing streak, which you can watch in all its glory below.
Projections: It should be interesting to see how Steve Addazio manages his stable of running backs this year. Jones has clearly earned a chance to get meaningful carries in big games, but Hilliman is still the starter. With prize recruit AJ Dillon coming into an already crowded backfield, it will be up to Addazio to manage it. Still, I think Jones gets a lot of touches at the goal line, and he improves on last year.
Over/Under: 400 Yards and 5 TDs.
How’d He Get Here: Recruited as a 3 star safety, Jones’ only other offer was from Coastal Carolina. The ESPN All-State selection decided to stay home though.
Quotables from ‘Daz:
“I mean, I'm not going to split them up that much. Jon Hilliman had a phenomenal, phenomenal spring. I mean, he had the best spring he's had since he's been here. They all did a great job. Davon had a lot of productivity, Rich Wilson, and then the young Travis (Levy). I mean, he's (indiscernible). We need them all. What you learn in this conference is you need all those backs, you know, but to play all of them like equally or something like that, I wouldn't say that would be our intent. But it'll work itself out. In the course of a game, you need to play with a few, not necessarily equally distributed, but you need a few. But in the course of a season, I mean, you know, it's a rough game, rough conference. Those guys get dinged up and really quickly. We've all seen it over the years. All of a sudden there's years when you don't have much, then the next year, next thing you know you've got two out or something. It just happens so fast on you. But I think it's encouraging that we lost two really great guys, but we were able to have -- I think you can get a good look at some guys that can be very productive.” - Addazio on a running back by committee