Reuben Jones Doubles Down On Defensive Line Transfer Legacy At WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Over the past two seasons, West Virginia’s defensive line has been the recipient of some of the most impactful one-year transfers in recent memory. Prior to the 2018 season. WVU welcomed Jabril Robinson and Kenny Bigelow to its ranks, and all that duo did was combine for 51 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, while giving the front its most depth in years.
It was hard to imagine that any team could come up with another such jackpot in the graduate transfer market, but lightning struck for the second time in the same place in the form of Reuben Jones, who came to West Virginia after earning three letters at Michigan. Jones racked up 34 tackles in his single season as a Mountaineer, with five stops for losses and three sacks among his big plays at defensive end. His was one of several ironman performances which allowed West Virginia to play a four-man defensive front in the latter part of the season despite possessing depth more suited to three-man look. That, in turn, sparked a defensive performance that produced a pair of November wins over Kansas State and TCU.
Playing with unbridled energy and passion, Jones was a force both on the field and in the locker room. He helped keep the Mountaineers get through a tough October with the idea of finishing strongly for both the seniors and the program.
“There was definitely a sense of urgency,” he said after closing out his college career with a win over the Horned Frogs, which included a sack on his stat line. “We went out there and said ‘Look, we seniors, we’ve got to put it all out there. Who knows what the next level or where you are going is going to hold?’
Jones sees football as an extension of his personality, and without question his came shining through in 2019.
“Football in general, you play it like you are as a person. If you are on the field and you are loafing and not doing what you are supposed to be doing, it’s a representation of who you are as a person,” he explained.
On the other hand Jones notes that 100% effort all the time will cover for some errors.
“You might mess up a few plays, but if you are busting your behind every single time…” he said, trailing off but finishing with a smile that leaves no doubt as to the results of playing the game in the way he views as right.
Coming in to the season, Jones tread a bit lightly around the team. True, he was a senior, and as such a leadership candidate, but it was also his first year in the program, and with players such as Reese Donahue, Colton McKivitz and the like having played their entire careers in Mountaineer gold and blue, he didn’t want to jump in and throw his weight around without backing. Quickly, though, he earned the respect of coaches and teammates alike with his infectious enthusiasm and all-out effort.
West Virginia has hopefully laid the foundation for better seasons to come with its play this year, and Jones was a big part of that. One-year players might not have the same staying power in the memories of fans as those that were in the program for for our five years, but Jones was a big part of this process, and in the five wins WVU managed to collect this season. Without him, there might not have been as many.
“First I want to thank the Mountaineer fans. They are great,” Jones said when asked how he would like to be remembered.
“Remember me as a high-motor guy. I’m not taking plays off, I’m going hard and doing what I need to do. That’s how I played. You have to tell the young guys that too – that’s how you play. It trickles down.”