MSU's Jones improving for Mississippi State

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm •  Published: April 11, 2014

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — As a freshman, Chris Jones was arguably Mississippi State's best defensive football player.

The scary part for opponents is he didn't really know what he was doing.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive tackle from Houston, Miss., used his sheer talent to finish with 32 tackles, including seven tackles for a loss, three sacks and a team-high 10 quarterback hurries last fall.

Now he's refining his technique and continuing to learn the playbook this spring as the Bulldogs prepare for the Maroon-White game on Saturday.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen hopes Jones' continued development can turn him into one of the most feared defensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference.

"He's got freaky talent," Mullen said. "But there are a lot of people out there who have had freaky talent and did nothing with it."

The Bulldogs return nine starters on defense from a team that finished with a 7-6 record last fall. Jones received almost all of the first-team snaps at defensive tackle this spring because of injuries to seniors Kaleb Eulls and P.J. Jones.

Jones came to Mississippi State expecting to play defensive end, but it was quickly apparent that his body was better suited at tackle. He carries 300 pounds easily and has the strength to fight off double teams while still possessing enough speed to get to the quarterback.

"Every time you're at tackle, you're going to get two people on you," Jones said. "Somebody's going to hit you. You're going to feel some pain."

As Jones continues to develop, he's dishing out some pain of his own, learning how leverage and positioning can make life easier when trying to control some of the most valuable real estate on the field.

He continued to dominate even after a thumb injury midway through spring left his left hand and wrist heavily taped. Mullen said he was impressed how Jones didn't let the pain affect his play.

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