By Nick Shook
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Beginning with his memorable performance in the Rose Bowl, 2017 has so far been the year of Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold. At least one of Darnold’s teammates isn’t letting that slow his own pursuit of college football’s top honor.
Cornerback Jack Jones was an occasional participant as a freshman in 2016, but he’s been drawing rave reviews during the offseason, starting with his spring ball play. He’s decided to crank up the hype a notch early in fall camp, according to Joey Kaufman of the Orange County Register.
Darnold is the sweetheart pick of most everyone when it comes to college QBs and he can be found on most Heisman watch lists. Jones, though a favorite breakout candidate on campus, is putting himself in pretty good company. He did something similar prior to his freshman season, when he said he expected to win the award.
The last defensive back to win the Heisman was Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997. Do-everything Michigan Wolverines defender Jabrill Peppers finished fifth in voting in 2016.
Jones is stepping into the role vacated by Adoree’ Jackson, who was a two-way threat and departed for the NFL via first-round selection. Coach Clay Helton said during spring practice he intended to get Jones some looks on the other side of the ball, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jones appear in situations similar to Jackson in past seasons.
As for that Heisman bid, we’ll have to wait and see if Jones can make good on his word.