TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Two things run throughout the course of family history between Fred, Marvin and Fredrick Jones: The city of Miami and Florida State football.
The two have been converging since 1983, when Fred first came to FSU as a linebacker out of South Miami High School. His younger brother Marvin, a standout at Miami Northwestern, later followed in his brother’s footsteps to Tallahassee, where, from 1990-92, he enjoyed arguably the best career of any Seminole defender in program history.
Decades later, Fred Jones’ son Fredrick left Miami Central for FSU, where he now serves as a regular on the Seminoles’ football and track and field teams.
So it’s only appropriate that the Jones family will once again be front and center when the Seminoles host the Miami Hurricanes Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium – Fred and Marvin as honorary team captains, and Fredrick as a defensive tackle on an FSU team looking to claim its eighth straight victory over UM.
Fred and Marvin Jones will be joined as honorary captains by fellow South Florida natives Zack and Henri Crockett, and All-America defensive end DeMarcus Walker.
“It’s always good to come back and it’s always special when all three of us can share that moment together,” Fred Jones said. “Because all three of us attended FSU, all three of us have got the same (jersey) number. Coming back to the crowd, seeing their faces, seeing other players, just being around that atmosphere … and then knowing it’s the Miami game, it’s really a big deal.”
Fred Jones pioneered his family’s path to Florida State, a prep football standout who headed north right as coach Howard Schnellenberger was building Miami into a national power.
Jones might have been tempted to stay home and wear orange and green, but a visit to a game at Doak Campbell Stadium, which in the early 1980s had one of the more unique and raucous environments in the country, helped sway him to join Bobby Bowden’s bunch.
“Well, I came up to a Florida game,” Jones said. “Just the atmosphere there – it was a home game, of course – that helped me. I wanted to get away. I wanted to do something different. And I did like the atmosphere up there.”
Jones went on to have a four-year career highlighted by 15 tackles for loss, AP All-American Honorable Mention status as a senior, and two very memorable sacks of Miami’s Bernie Kosar during the Seminoles’ 38-3 win at Miami in 1984.
Fred Jones played in big games with and against future NFL stars throughout his career at Florida State. But none ever felt more important than the Miami games.
“It means a lot,” he said. “You’re going to get nervous because you want to be at your best. When you come home, you’ve got a lot of family and everybody coming to the game. You want those bragging rights. You don’t want people saying, ‘You should’ve stayed here.’”
Fred’s younger brother Marvin kicked things up several notches upon his arrival at Florida State in 1990. By then, the Seminoles were in early stages of Bowden’s “dynasty era,” having finished the season ranked third or better in 1987, 88 and 89.
Led by the likes of Jones, quarterback Casey Weldon and defensive back Terrell Buckley, the Seminoles of the early 1990s carried on that tradition in style, posting a 32-5 record during Jones’ three years in Tallahassee.
And Marvin Jones was the heart of coach Mickey Andrews’ defense, a three-time All-American (third-team 1990, first-team 1991 and 92) who was so dominant that he finished fourth in the 1992 Heisman Trophy vote.
He also delivered perhaps the most famous tackle in FSU football history:
Jones joined the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 and, more recently, became only the 10th Seminole to have his jersey retired.
Fittingly, Jones’ jersey-retirement ceremony was held on Oct. 10, 2015 – during an FSU home victory over Miami.
“It’s always a good experience for myself,” Marvin Jones said, “just how instrumental the Miami game has been to me, being a hometown guy, and the history of what I’ve done and played in those games and how big they were for me.
“Twenty-five years later, to be associated with that era of great football is an awesome thing. So I always look forward to it. Anything I can do that involves being a part of Florida State on game day or being part of the team, I really enjoy it.”
That includes keeping tabs on his nephew, Fredrick Jones.
A redshirt junior, Fredrick Jones made a pair of starts at defensive tackle last season and has carved a foothold for himself in FSU’s deep defensive tackle rotation.
The youngest Jones has often said that he wants to be viewed on his own merits and not solely as Fred’s son and Marvin’s nephew.
But he’s also proud of his family’s history at Florida State, and honors it by wearing the same jersey No. 55 that Fred and Marvin wore. With Uncle Marvin’s permission, of course.
“Since I first got here, I always wanted to go down my own path and not just follow my dad and my uncle,” Fredrick Jones said. “But I know in the back of my head, I have a little bit of expectations because of my family ties here.”
Those family ties extend beyond just the three Joneses, too.
Fred Jones pointed out that cousin James Colzie was a standout cornerback for the Seminoles from 1993-96, while Rick Colzie (1972-73) played baseball and twins Shandra and Shundra Colzie (2002-03) were members of the FSU softball team.
They’re all from Miami. And they all chose to attend Florida State.
“We have a lot of legacy as a family at Florida State,” Fred Jones said. “It just seemed like the right place to go.”
It’s a legacy that Marvin Jones hopes continues for future generations.
“For the last 30 years, we’ve been associated with the school,” he said. “It’s an awesome thing. How many other people have had that experience at a prominent college such as Florida State? There’s not many I can think of. It’s quite an honor.
“Florida State has been like one of the members of the family.”