Jones (5-8, 185) has heard throughout his career he was too small, despite his high school accolades. He was named the Group AAA Player of the Year by the Associated Press, was the all-time leading tackler (343) at state power Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va., and scored the most touchdowns (54) in school history.
Jones was just a two-star recruit with his only other FBS offers coming from Navy and Boston College, according to Rivals.com. But he never doubted the impact he would have in college.
“I knew that I was going to come to college and be a successful player,” Jones said. “It was more so about just helping this team. I really didn't have a lot of personal goals coming into college. I just wanted to help this team as much as I can, and I think I'm doing an ok job of that.”
Virginia surprised many with an 8-5 record in 2011, and Jones was maybe the biggest reason for the turnaround. He was elected a captain as a junior and set the tone for a team that was not used to winning.
Jones ran for 915 yards and five touchdowns and had 48 catches for 506 yards and three scores last season. He even threw a touchdown pass at Miami. Jones says this year he wants to improve his yards after contact but acknowledges he can take steps forward in all phases of his game.
“Even those things that people think I do well, I still need to improve upon,” Jones said. “I can still run better routes coming out of the backfield. I've been working on that a lot this season. I just want to be an easy target for the quarterbacks.”
When asked if he wanted to get to 1,000 rushing yards in his senior year, Jones said he doesn't set those types of goals.
“I think, for myself, the sky's the limit,” Jones said. “I'm not going to really put a limitation on what I want to do this season.”
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from ACC bloggers Shawn Krest and Sean Bielawski, follow @CBSSportsACC.