Tampa's A.J. Jones determined to help wherever necessary
Trying to fill the void left by seven defensive starters has proven to be a daunting task for the Gators, but for Tampa native A.J. Jones, it’s an opportunity to prove his leadership skills are more than just talk.
Jones, a Middleton graduate, is playing several spots at LB, similar to former Gator Ryan Stamper, who played both outside and inside for the Gators.
“To tell you the truth, I just really want to help out the team,’’ Jones said. “I was talking to (Stamper) the other day and I was telling him I was playing kind of the same role he did. I want to be able to fit in where we’re not as strong. So if we’re not as strong at SAM or MIC or WIL, I want to be the person that can lift up that position. And he gave me a lot of tips. He told me to just step in at the point that you can. And all of us are getting reps at all the positions, so it’s making us a lot better.’’
Jones, who admittedly isn't overly outgoing, said he has stepped out of his comfort zone to become more of a vocal leader. As a fifth-year senior, he feels that's part of his responsibility.
"We have a young team and so the older guys realize it's up to us to step up and lead and be accountable,'' Jones said.