By BEN JOHNSON
Vernon Jones had enough interceptions (five) in 2012 to tie for third in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. And by NSU head coach Kenny Evans’ count, Jones had the chance to pick off even more than that. Long story short, Jones — a Jacksonville, Fla., native at 5 feet, 11 inches and 170 pounds — returns for his senior season aiming at the interception mark in the conference in 2013.
You were a two-sport standout in high school. Did you ever consider playing two sports (football and basketball) in college?
I was in junior college, but it wears on you. So I couldn’t do it.
Who was the best wide receiver you went against in the MIAA last season?
Of course, most would say John Brown (at Pittsburg State) — because he’s fast. The guy at Emporia (former Muskogee standout Shjuan Richardson) was good, but I held him down a little bit.
Which wide receiver are you looking forward to going against this season?
John Brown. I caught body cramps that game last year, so I had to sit out a little bit in the fourth. So I’m looking forward to that game.
Have you been conditioning this summer, so you’re in shape for that first game?
Yeah, and he’s a Florida kid, too, so he’s going to be talking trash. He’s from Miami, and I’m from Jacksonville, so it’ll be an I-95 battle.
What was the process like of going from high school in Florida to junior college in New Mexico to now here at NSU?
It was becoming a man, actually. I was far away from home and family, so I had to meet new people. Just have to start your own life.
What was your daily routine at New Mexico Military Institute?
Had to wake up at 6:30 for formation, and then you have to march through breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sometimes you have a parade on Saturdays, but lucky for me, I’m in football so we would be gone. You also have to have your room clean every day. They just keep you up on everything.
You said you like to travel. Where’s your favorite place to go? And why?
Charlotte, N.C., because my grandma lives there. They cook every day, so I go up there and relax.
What’s the best kind of food that your grandma makes?
Seafood — shrimp and crabs — on holidays. And of course, barbecue.
What’s something about Jacksonville that you miss?
The weather. It’s hot like it is here, but it’s not as dry. Also miss the waterparks, friends and family. That’s about it.