Miller Grove’s J’Terius Jones shining early in Falcons camp

Falcons defensive end/linebacker J’Terius Jones, who played at Miller Grove High before starring at Miami of Ohio, has a lot of pressure on him.

He’s wearing jersey No. 55, which belonged to the great John Abraham.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill,” said Jones, who’s 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds. “I’ve got really big shoes to fill, absolutely. I’m up to the challenge.”

Jones made 149 total tackles (88 solo) with 35.5 tackles for loss, 22 sacks, six pass breakups, five fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles in three seasons at Miami of Ohio.

He was raised in East Atlanta after being born in Macon.

“Just blessed to be out here and be among such great teammates and great coaches,” Jones said. “I’ll try to fly around and do my thing. It’s been great for me.”

Jones went under the SEC, ACC and Southern Conference’s recruiting radar.

"Back in high school, my high school coach, coach (Damien) Wimes took us to Ohio State's camp and there were a bunch of coaches there," Jones said. "I went up there and did my thing and got in contact with the Miami of Ohio staff.

“They really liked me. They were like one of the first few schools that offered me a scholarship. Once I learned about the great tradition there and my uncle had a connection with a couple of coaches who went through there, either played there or coached there, once they talked it up, I took my visit and committed.”

Travis Jones, the former Georgia standout who’s Seattle’s defensive line coach, is his uncle.

He flourished in the Mid-American Conference, which has produced its share of NFL stars including Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (Toledo), Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown (Central Michigan) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jack Lambert (Kent State), for the old-schoolers.

Also, Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis was selected fifth overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2017 draft.

“People down South don’t really know about the MAC until we have first-round draft picks,” Jones said. “We had a lot of guys coming out of the MAC who are in the league right now. There’s some great competition in the MAC.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn personally called Jones after he went undrafted.

“I did go to the locals day and after the seventh-round, coach (Dan) Quinn called and offered me a deal, which I took,” Jones said. “I felt like this was the best place for me because I would be able to play multiple positions. That’s how I ended up here.”

Jones has been bouncing from defensive end and weakside linebacker. He has played a few snaps at strongside linebacker early in camp.
"I'm just all over the place, playing football," said Jones, who played rush defensive end for the RedHawks.

Jones caught the coaches attention with his speed and rushing ability. Now, that the pads are on, he must continue to shine.

Jones will likely have to make the team by performing well on special teams.

“He’s doing a good job,” special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong said. “Very willing. He’s a big kid, who can run. Very willing and he’ll play on all phases. He’ll play on the big four plus field goal block.”

The big four special teams are -- punt coverage, punt return, kickoff coverage and kickoff return.

Jones plans to make the best of his shoot.

"I felt overlooked, but you know God has a plan," Jones said. "God is in total control. I just take my opportunity every day to work hard and to compete against whoever it is. Teammates or the other team. It's worked out for me and like I said. God has a plan and he's in total control and he's led me here."