Everyone caught a glimpse of what Florida Gators running back Matt Jones was capable of in 2012. The 6-foot-2, 225 pound sophomore, fittingly nicknamed “The Bruiser” by his teammates, has the strength and ability to push through some of the toughest defenses in the NCAA. When head coach Will Muschamp put Jones in as Mike Gillislee’s replacement in the in-state rivalry game against the Florida State Seminoles, he plowed right through the defense with a 32-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that sealed their adversary’s fate. That was just a taste of what Jones has to offer.
Jones had a few corrections to make as he made the transition from high school to college football. He wasn’t spectacular from the start, but he improved. In a speech Muschamp gave in Atlanta earlier this year, he mentioned Jones as one of the true freshman who played a major role in the success of the Gators’ 11-2 season in 2012.”[Matt] matured so much from game one to about game eight or nine,” Muschamp gushed. “I’m really excited about him!” With Gillislee as his leader, Jones was able to quickly learn and grow within Florida’s program.
Jones’ hunger and drive comes from his modest upbringing, sharing only a small single-family home with his mother and siblings. That memory and his daughter serve as his main motivators. Players like Jones bring character to a team. He will have no problem stepping in to fill Gillislee’s shoes as starting running back. Jones is more than ready and willing to take on the leadership role. His passion and perseverance will attribute greatly to his success with the Gators in 2013, and in the future.