2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Darren Jones, LB, Culver-Stockton College
- Name: Darren Jones
- Position: LB
- College: Culver-Stockton College
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 205 lbs
- Twitter: @Darren_Jones19
- Instagram: @334.darren
What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?
I decided I wanted to play football when I was 5 years old. Although, growing up my family didn’t have the means to put me in youth football. Therefore, I didn’t get a chance to play til 9th grade. Once I got on the field for the first time, I fell in love. I fell in love with the grind, the camaraderie, and the passion it took to compete.
What are your favorite moments from your football life?
I would say my absolute favorite football moment would be when I scored my first touchdown my junior year of college. The feeling was so incredible, and I had put my team in a position to win after trailing by 7 points. This is one of the many moments I will cherish forever.
What are you looking to achieve as a football player going forward?
The first thing I want to achieve is defensive rookie of the year. No matter what league I start off in, I’m going to make this happen. The second major achievement I want is to win a championship. In high school, my varsity squad lost the game before the state championship 3 years in a row. Once I got to college, we never made it to playoffs, despite having amazing players and great coaches. I WANT TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP. Lastly, when people talk about the greatest players to ever play this game, I want my name to be mentioned. I will do everything in my power to become one of the best to ever lace up the cleats. I have a lot of little goals, but those three are my main ones.
If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?
I would choose to hang out with Brian Dawkins or Bobby Wagner. Brian Dawkins to me was the definition of smart, fast, physical. I would love to sit down and pick his brain. I feel as if we have the same drive and same energy towards the game. I would choose Bobby Wagner because he is my favorite player. He is truly consistent and is a sideline to sideline linebacker. I wanted my game to look exactly like his. Not many people know this, but I started out playing o-line. When I decided to make the switch to linebacker in 10th grade, a lot of people said I couldn’t do it. So I would go home and watch his highlights EVERYDAY. His game motivated me so much.
Which one of your family members inspires you the most and why?
I don’t have one, I have four. Taura Lowe (mom), Trudy Herbert (aunt), Tameika Jones (aunt), and Rhonda Scott (grandmother) . These four women inspire me the most in my family. They have shown me how to be resilient, strong, and resourceful. These women made me into the man I am today. They are still supporting me and pushing me to chase my dreams. I will forever be grateful.
What is your favorite defensive scheme and why?
My favorite defensive scheme is the 3-3-5 scheme. I’ve played in this scheme the last 5 years. I like that it can be very complex and also very simple at the same time. In my eyes, it’s a high risk high reward defense.
What should we know about Darren Jones the person?
You should know that there’s no quit in me. Once I am assigned a task or I start something, I won’t stop until the task is completed. You should also know that I am VERY passionate. When it comes to things that I want, or things that I believe in, I go 100mph for it. You should also know that I am willing to do anything and play at any position as long as it benefits the team. I want to win by any means necessary.
What stands out about your film the most?
Well for one my speed, but also my versatility. I can go out at nickel or safety and cover someone, but I can also get in the box and play downhill or sideline to sideline on the run. It also shows that even on special teams I give 100%. I think my film shows that pretty well.
How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?
I attack any challenge head on, whether it’s off the field or not. I was taught to never be afraid of what life throws at you. Life and football are both full of ups and downs (emotional and physical), you just can’t control that. However, you can control how you respond to it. I choose to always accept the situation and push forward knowing that I can overcome anything as long as I give it my all and stay positive.
What would a team get in a player like you?
A team would get a player with an outstanding work ethic and hunger to get better each day. Also, they would get a student of the game. Everyone is working hard in the gym, and on the field to get better. What separates the good players from the great players is film study. I came to this realization a couple years ago and my game has elevated tremendously since then.
What do you love the most about the game of football?
The thing I love most about football is the grind. Whether it’s in the weight room, getting extra work on the field, or studying film. I also love the fact that the little things you do off the field directly translates to on the field. So whatever you put into it is what you get out.
Who is the most underrated player you’ve played with and why?
The most underrated players i have played with are David Hernandez (safety: Culver-Stockton College), Jahmar Bingham (cornerback: Culver-Stockton College), and Demareo Luckett (cornerback- Grand View University ). These three guys are some of the hardest working guys I know and are willing to put it all on the line for the team. They have elite speed and great footwork. It was a honor to be able to line up with these guys and compete. With the right opportunities, I think we all will make it to the NFL.