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Jones caps solid Sun Devil career

Former Picayune product Anthony Jones will wrap up what has been a steady and solid collegiate career on the football field Monday night.

Jones is a starting linebacker for Arizona State, which faces Texas Tech in The Holiday Bowl in San Diego. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Jones is the son of Requita Magee of Picayune and the brother of current Maroon Tide standout Jordan Dedeaux. Jones attended the Picayune school system through his ninth grade year, before moving to Chandler, Az., to live with relatives.

“It was a tough decision, but it worked out for the best,” Jones said. “It was hard at times, to leave my family behind as a 15-year-old kid. But I’m glad I stuck it out. Things have worked out well for me.”

Jones helped Hamilton High to a pair of state titles during his prep career, winning rings during his sophomore and senior seasons. Ironically, his brother did the same at Picayune, winning state crowns as a sophomore and a senior.

“That’s crazy that we both won the same years we were in high school,” Jones added. “It’s something for us both to be proud of.’

A 2009 graduate of Hamilton, Jones was considered the top linebacker in the state of Arizona and an aggressive, hard-hitting physical playmaker from sideline to sideline his senior season. He was a key component of Hamilton’s 2008 5A-I state championship run and a top product of a prep football programs that has produced nine Sun Devils over the past decade.

Jones attended the same high school as former ASU All-American and current NFL Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs. He earned Second-Team All-5A honors in 2008 as selected by the Arizona Republic, and was regarded as the top linebacker and No. 8 overall recruit in the state of Arizona by Rivals.com his senior season.

He turned down several scholarship offers in the South, including one to Ole Miss, to stay in Arizona and play college ball.

“When I first moved out here, I really didn’t plan to stay here this long,” Jones said. “Things just kind of turned out that way. I decided to stay here and play at ASU, and that was the best decision I could have made.”

Jones has made his mark on the Sun Devil program over the past two seasons, starting 11 of 12 games this season for an ASU team that has gone 10-3. The Sun Devils won seven straight games after beginning the season 3-2, but fell to Stanford in the Pacific 12 Conference championship game a few weeks ago.

This season, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior has started 12 of 13 games, recording 34 tackles. He also has one forced fumble, two pass break-ups and three passes defended and registered two tackles for loss as well.

As a junior, Jones had a strong game in his second career start, taking a second-half interception against Oregon back 36 yards to the house for his first career interception and touchdown. He made his first career start against Illinois in the second week of the season.

As a sophomore, he saw action in all 13 games in 2011, playing mostly on special teams.

“I have always just wanted to do whatever the team needed me to do for us to be successful,” Jones added. We have had a good year,I just hope we can add one more win Monday night.”

This is the third bowl Jones has participated in, having been a part of Sun Devil teams that were selected for the Las Vegas Bowl and the Kraft Bowl in San Francisco as well.

He hopes to get a chance to continue his playing career in some form or fashion in the future on the professional level.