Alabama DB Cyrus Jones determined to prove himself

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Cyrus Jones felt overlooked about not being listed with the 42 other defensive backs put on the Jim Thorpe watchlist, and is now out to prove his doubters wrong. Speaking to Matt Zenitz of AL.com, Jones’ father, Cyrus Sr., discussed his son’s feelings.

“As a coach and a former player, I know some people either have that competitive spirit or they don’t,” Jones Sr., a high school basketball coach in Baltimore, told AL.com. “He’s one of those kids who actually has it. He was definitely upset [at being left off the watch lists], and that’s not the first time that he’s been upset for not being recognized for all the hard work and dedication that he puts into the game. …

“He said this is another situation where people are overlooking his talent. But as I always tell him, ‘That’s motivation. Use that as motivation. Don’t let it discourage you. Don’t let it get you down. But keep that in the back of your head that that’s someone else and other people who didn’t feel you’re one of the best.'”

A former four-star recruit out of Baltimore, Jones spent his freshman season as a receiver before switching to cornerback. In two seasons at that position, he has 71 tackles, a sack, five interceptions returned for a total of 28 yards, two forced fumbles and a defensive touchdown. Despite that, as Zenitz reported, he received hateful tweets as he adjusted to the position, particularly after making a mistake that let Auburn tie the game in the 2013 Iron Bowl before they went on to win.

But all that Jones can do going forward is use that criticism to make himself better. Alabama is notorious for having strong defenses and so long as he stays focused and remains determined to be the best, he could put himself into the Jim Thorpe Award conversation. At that point, even if he doesn’t win, he’ll have already won by turning a lot of heads his senior year.

Alabama opens the season against Wisconsin at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium on September 5.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to AL.com