For many years, Texas has sent a plethora of safeties to the NFL, such as Earl Thomas, Kenny Vaccaro and Quandre Diggs. Well, it appears the next defensive back in line is none other than Brandon Jones.
This past season, Jones had 86 total tackles and two interceptions. He appeared in 46 games during his career at Texas and became an impact player for the secondary once his sophomore season began.
Now that his time at the collegiate level has come to an end, Jones is preparing for the next phase of his career. The former Texas safety recently had the chance to meet with coaches and scouts at the NFL Combine.
We sat down with Jones to discuss his favorite memories with the Longhorns and how he’s preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s get this interview started.
The Spun: How was the NFL Combine experience for you?
Brandon Jones: It was an awesome experience. I think overall it was just a blessing to be able to be there. It was one of my dreams, especially playing football growing up to just to go to the combine. I took advantage of it and really enjoyed the whole process. It was really cool to meet with all the coaches – informally and formally – and start some really good relationships with them. Also, just being able to be around the top players in the country was really cool.
The Spun: Which safeties do you try to replicate your game after?
BJ: I’d say obviously Earl Thomas is one guy based off of his physique and how he’s built. He’s not the biggest guy in the league and on the field, and I kind of embraced that throughout my process because I’m not the biggest guy, but he definitely plays with a really big heart. Earl is super motivated to be the best version of himself and he’s able to play in a lot of different positions. I kind of embraced that and inherited some of his traits.
Constantly Overlooked, but never forgotten. Stay woke🤫 pic.twitter.com/nTbRJt5htk
— Brandon Jones (@BlessedJones33) December 11, 2019
The Spun: What went wrong for Texas this past season?
BJ: It’s tough because situationally we had a lot of injuries to a lot of star players. We lost a lot of upperclassmen on the defensive side of the football, and we just didn’t have a lot of game experience with these younger guys. When you look back at it though, it’s definitely going to be a good thing for them in the future because they now have that experience and are now comfortable being on the field. But if I had to pick one reason why the 2019 wasn’t as successful as the 2018 season, I would say it’s because we lost a lot of on-field experience.
The Spun: Is Tom Herman the right coach to take Texas to the College Football Playoff?
BJ: Yeah, I think coach Herman is definitely that guy. Him and his coaching staff preach getting the best out of you on and off the field, and I think that’s super important. They’re really big on culture and then you have the relationships. When Coach Herman and his staff came in, we all just became really close as teammates and friends, and that stuff really goes a long way. I think you see guys connect on a level outside of football, which really benefits them on the field because they’re used to playing with each other. Practices with Coach Herman are probably the hardest in the country, but everything we do is so we can play well on Saturdays
The Spun: You were part of a lot of huge wins during your career at Texas. Is there one that stands out above the rest?
BJ: I would either say the win against Georgia or the win against Oklahoma last year at the Cotton Bowl. Both of those games were unreal. We were obviously underdogs in both of those games, which we kind of embraced as a team, and that made us play harder knowing that we’re underdogs. Just getting a taste of being able to beat some of the top teams in the country showed us that if we play like this, we could be anybody in the country.
— Brandon Jones (@BlessedJones33) January 1, 2020
The Spun: What are you doing to pass the time during this quarantine period?
BJ: I’m trying to get any work done I can possible. Due to my injury, I’ve had to take a little different approach when it comes to rehab and making sure I’m 100 percent when the doctor fully clears me. I get in rehab sessions at this place down here where I do my physical therapy three times a week. Every day I’m trying to try to get on the field to critique my craft and get better at position drills. I’m a guy that doesn’t like to take a lot of days off because it just makes me feel out of shape or behind. I’m trying to take an approach of being one step ahead of everybody else.
The Spun: What separates you from other defensive backs?
BJ: I’d say my football IQ and my competitive nature. I’m a firm believer that for a guy to be better than me, they have to show me over multiple reps and actually practice what they preach and flat out beat me. I think that I’m one of the most competitive guys in the country. Since I’ve had my surgery, I’ve been watching film on teams and creating some type of edge anyway I can physically or mentally.
"I wanted to get an edge and separate myself."
Here’s a look inside the binder where he keeps those notes⬇️ pic.twitter.com/XFxLlQiubO
— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) March 31, 2020
Despite undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum, Jones hasn’t allowed that procedure to affect his preparation for the NFL Draft. He reportedly spent weeks breaking down all 32 NFL teams’ entire defensive playbook.
Jones’ work ethic alone should allow him to have a successful career at the next level.