TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fredrick Jones is at Florida State for a reason. And it’s not his last name.The son of former FSU linebacker Fred Jones, and the nephew of FSU Hall-of-Famer Marvin Jones, Fredrick Jones is well aware of the legacy his family has built with the Seminoles. Although he’s proud to carry on that legacy – Jones wears the same No. 55 that his father and uncle wore – he’s also anxious to write his own story with the Seminoles, and prove that he belongs on his own merits.
“It feels good,” Jones, a redshirt sophomore defensive tackle, said after having the best game of his career Saturday at South Florida. “But I’m making my own path. I’m not a linebacker, like both of them were. I’m a D-lineman. So I’m making my own path.”
If his performance against USF was any indication, that path leads straight to the opponents’ backfield.
Making his first collegiate start in place of a nicked-up Derrick Nnadi, Jones tied for second on the team with three tackles, and he swallowed up USF running back Marlon Mack for a four-yard loss early in the second quarter.
“Solid day,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said of Jones’ effort. “Did a nice job.”
Jones might have made his biggest impact, however, on a play in which he didn’t show up in the box score.
Although cornerback Tarvarus McFadden made the tackle for loss, it was Jones who flattened USF center Cameron Ruff and funneled quarterback Quinton Flowers toward McFadden.
The highlight clip took off with FSU fans on social media Monday morning and, eventually, made its way into the Seminoles’ locker room.
“It was just a matter of time for him to get his moment to shine,” said center Alec Eberle, who often lines up across from Jones in practice. “That kid works his butt off. Over the summer, he’s doing team workouts but he’s also doing extra stuff by himself.
“ I was excited to see him out in the game Saturday, he had a tackle for loss and I thought he played really well. I love going against him because he’s always going to give me work, he’s always going to push me to get better. … Plus, he’s a strong dude.”
That strength, as well as his 6-3, 298-pound frame, makes Jones a natural choice to line up as a blocking fullback in Florida State’s goal line packages, too. He did it a few times on Saturday, following a lengthy tradition of FSU D-lineman to get a taste of playing offense.
Jones played some fullback and tight end in high school, sometimes sharing a huddle with FSU star Dalvin Cook during their days at Miami Central High.
“Oh, I love that. It’s a man’s game,” Jones said. “You’re on the 1-, 2-yard line and everybody knows if you don’t score, that means you didn’t get no push. If you score, that means you get push. It’s a man’s game. No trick plays or anything like that. You’ve just got to go.”
Added FSU’s full-time fullback, Freddie Stevenson: “Some of those other guys, it’s just something they were asked to do. But Fred, he actually loves coming on to the offense and blocking. He’s doing a good job there, too.”