Pictured above is Ville Platte High product Tyler Jones signing his letter of intent to play for the Southern-Shreveport Jags. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Jones)
Former Ville Platte High standout Tyler Jones will have a new home on the gridiron this coming fall, as the three-sport athlete has signed a letter of intent to play for the Southern University-Shreveport Jags.
The Southern-Shreveport Jags are the newest addition to football in the state of Louisiana. The Jags are actually a non-profit organization that signed an agreement with the college itself to become a preferred educational partner, which means that student-athletes that participate have to meet the academic standards set at SUSLA.
The Jags are scheduled to play their inaugural season on Saturday, August 15th when they face off against Trinity Valley in Athens, Texas.
The Jags will be affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association and will take on other notable football programs such as Blinn College, Navarro College and Louisiana College. Home games will be played at Independence Stadium.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity to continue playing a game I love to play a little bit longer,” stated Jones. “It was also very important for me to begin the next journey in my life by getting a chance to secure a college degree.”
Jones, like most Ville Platte High athletes, began playing football in the seventh grade. The versatile athlete continued his gridiron career on into high school, skipping only his freshman season.
“In eighth grade I received a concussion and decided not to play my freshman year,” said Jones. “But, I missed the game too much and had to come back as a sophomore.”
Good thing for Ville Platte High, as Jones became a three-way player, getting time at receiver, defensive back and special teams, for the rest of his time on the varsity squad. Jones finished his career with over seven touchdowns scored and just as many interceptions.
Signing with the Jags to play football may come as a surprise for a majority of the Bulldog nation. Most sports-informed persons probably would have guessed that basketball would be Jones’ preferred sport to play on the next level.
However, Jones thought his talents would be better utilized on the football field rather that the hard court.
“I just felt that I’m too small to play any other position than point guard in college and I don’t think I handle the ball well enough to play point guard,” commented Jones. “I believe I can use my athleticism better on the football field. My build is better suited to play wide receiver and it gives me a better opportunity to play on the next level.”
Jones is hoping that playing on the JUCO level he will get the skills necessary to move on after his two-year stint with the Jags.
“I think going JUCO is the right path for me,” said Jones. “Right now I have a ton of things to learn. I am not quite ready for the big league yet. I want to gain that knowledge and those skills to help me move on to a bigger college. I know I will have to work extra hard to get to that level.”
Jones will get a plethora of football knowledge from head coach Kiwaukee Thomas. The first year skipper spent played eight seasons total in the NFL and CFL.
More important to Jones is his education. The young athlete plans on majoring in business management.
“My biggest goal is to get my degree,” stated Jones. “My focus has to be on that because I know that at some point and time my playing days will end.”