Sun Belt 2016 Player of the Year and bona fide sack monster Ja’Von Rolland Jones was named to Sport Illustrated‘s Top 100 College Football Players for 2017. That’s cool, considering more than 25% of the list was SEC. And that Jones was the only Sun Belt player to make the list. And that the only Group of Five representation other than Jones (95) was Toledo QB Logan Woodside (89), South Florida QB Quinton Flowers (53), Middle Tennessee WR Richie James (42), SMU WR Courtland Sutton (28), and Houston DT Ed Oliver (4). COME ON. SI! GIVE THE GROUP OF FIVE SOME RESPECT, YO!
Anyway, I saved you the trouble of wrestling with SI’s ad-heavy, slow-scrolling list by quoting what the swimsuit/sport magazine had to say about Jones in its entirety:
The top pass-rusher in the Group of Five, Rolland-Jones was impossible to contain last season. He finished the year with 13.5 sacks, fifth most in the FBS and most in the Group of Five, and 21.5 tackles for loss, good enough to make him the first defensive player to win the Sun Belt’s player of the year honors since 2003. The scariest thing for opposing offenses this season? Rolland-Jones compiled those stats despite beginning the year as a second-stringer. Now with his spot as an every-down player solidified, Rolland-Jones has an opportunity to post even bigger numbers in his senior year and improve his draft stock.
Rolland-Jones really was impossible to contain last season, combining with fellow DE Chris Odom for 24 total sacks in 2017, the most potent tandem in college football. We’ll next see Rolland-Jones in action when the Red Wolves open the season in Lincoln against Nebraska on September 2.