WKU Football: DE Jones wants to show record-breaking season was no fluke
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Juwuan Jones spent his first season at Western Kentucky sitting on the sidelines.
He redshirted while making the conversion from linebacker to defensive lineman, a move that paid off in his first year on the field.
Jones says he’s ready to be even better in year two.
“I wanna prove last season, what I did, was not an anomaly,” he added. “I wanna be able to do it for the next couple years that I’m here at WKU. Be able to produce and help our team win in the end.”
Jones did everything he could to help the team win last season, even setting a couple records along the way.
The Sugar Hill, Ga., native set a program record for a freshman by recording five sacks in 2018.
Those numbers earned Jones a spot on the Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American team, the first WKU freshman defensive lineman to earn such honors.
“Juwauan works,” said redshirt-senior defensive lineman Jaylon George. “He’s a pass-rush specialist. He wants to have an all-around game. He comes out and does his thing.”
First-year head coach Tyson Helton was impressed by what he saw on film before he even had a chance to watch Jones play in person.
“He can get to the quarterback,” said Helton. “He can be disruptive on the back end. Obviously he’s a big man. He can hold the point pretty well.”
In his sophomore season, Jones will have to deal with the large expectations he’s created for himself due to his eye-catching performances just a season ago.
“He obviously probably wants to play better,” said Clayton White, WKU defensive coordinator. “You don’t wanna have a sophomore slump. You don’t want to have the same year as a freshman, so obviously improving in his numbers.”
While it’ll be clear to see whether or not Jones’ numbers in 2019 improve, something that can’t be recorded or marked down is the way he’s grown into a leadership role on this team, a rarity for a player of his age.
“Those guys are looking at him when he has a great season like that,” George said. “The guys expect something out of you, so you gotta up your status and act older than you are.”
Helton has praised Jones for his leadership traits, too.
“He’s a highly motivated guy that comes to work every day,” he added. “He has a passion about what he wants to do and what he wants to be. We’ll be counting on him very much this year.”
Jones will be counting on himself, too, out to show that 2018 was no fluke, and bigger and better things are yet to come for the 270-pound lineman.