The Cincinnati, Ohio, native became the first true freshman in 31 years to lead the Spartans in tackles.
EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, who led the team with 78 tackles in 2007, has been named a first-team Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and AON Insurance. Jones is one of 12 true freshmen selected to the 28-man squad, and he ranks as the only representative from the Big Ten Conference. It marks the second straight year that a Spartan has earned a spot on the FWAA Freshman All-America Team as placekicker Brett Swenson earned first-team honors in 2006.
Jones previously earned first-team Freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News, CollegeFootballNews.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Jones became the first true freshman to lead the Spartans in tackles since Dan Bass made 111 stops in 1976. He also ranked first among Big Ten freshmen with 78 stops, including 40 solos and 38 assists. He ranked third on the team in sacks (4.5 for 25 yards) and fourth in tackles for loss (8.5 for 33). The Cincinnati, Ohio, native appeared in all 13 games, including seven starts at SAM linebacker. As a starter, Jones averaged 7.3 tackles per game. He also averaged a team-leading 6.5 tackles per game in Big Ten play.
“As a freshman, Greg Jones didnâ€™t take anything for granted,” Spartan linebackers coach Mike Tressel said. “He worked extremely hard in preseason camp and when given opportunities early in the season, he took full advantage of his playing time.
“I really appreciate his work ethic because he fought to get better each week in practice. I also like his competitiveness because he wants and expects to make every play.
“Greg has great natural instincts as a football player, and he certainly has a knack for finding the football. With greater attention to detail and focus on the little things, I expect Greg to improve a lot between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Greg has the potential to be a great one, especially with his attitude and desire.”
He led the Spartans in tackles in three games, including five solo stops against Boston College in the Champs Sports Bowl. Midway through the fourth quarter, Jones forced a fumble while sacking Matt Ryan for a 10-yard loss. Oren Wilson recovered the fumble at the BC 37 and three plays later, MSU cut its deficit to 24-21 on Brian Hoyerâ€™s 14-yard touchdown strike to Deon Curry in the back of the end zone.
Jones recorded double-figure tackles in back-to-back games against top-ranked Ohio State (season-high 14 stops) and Iowa (11). He also compiled a season-best 33 production points against the Buckeyes, including 1.5 tackles for loss (7 yards) and two hits on the quarterback.
He made eight stops (3-5) against Northwestern in his first career start, including 1.5 for losses (2). Jones produced five tackles (2-3) against Pittsburgh, including two behind the line of scrimmage (6 yards). He posted six tackles, including five solo hits, against Bowling Green. In his collegiate debut against UAB, Jones registered seven stops (5-2), including a 6-yard sack.
Jones also led the Spartan special teams in tackles with 12 â€“ all coming on kickoff coverage.