American Football Database
James Jones
File:Fred Marion 1987.jpg
Jones (right) playing for the Lions in 1985
No. 30     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1961-03-21) March 21, 1961 (age 61)
Place of birth: Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.
Career information
College: Florida
NFL Draft: 1983 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
 As player:
* Detroit Lions ( 1983 1988)
 As coach:
* Blanche Ely High School (2007)
Career highlights and awards
* First-team All-SEC (1981, 1982)
Rushing attempts     1,010
Rushing yards     3,626
Rushing touchdowns     26
Receptions     318
Receiving yards     2,641
Touchdown catches     10
Stats at
Stats at

James Roosevelt Jones (born March 21, 1961) is an American former college and professional football fullback in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons during the 1980s and early 1990s. Jones played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the Detroit Lions and the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.

Early years

Jones was born in Pompano Beach, Florida in 1961.[1] He attended Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach,[2] where he was a star high school football player for the Blanche Ely Mighty Tigers. Jones was so versatile in his ability to play multiple positions that he was nicknamed the "Franchise."[3] Parade magazine named him as a high school All-American after his senior season.[3]

In 2007, twenty-eight years after he graduated from high school, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized Jones as one of the "100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years" of Florida high school football.[3]

College career

Jones received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played for coach Charley Pell's Florida Gators football team from 1979 to 1982.[4] During Jones' sophomore season in 1980, he was a member of the Gators team that posted the biggest one-year turnaround in the history of NCAA Division I football[5]—from 0–10–1 in 1979[6] to an 8–4 bowl team in 1980.[7]

He was a team captain in 1981 and 1982, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 1981 and 1982, and a third-team/honorable mention All-American in 1982.[4] He also received the Gators' Fergie Ferguson Award, recognizing the "senior football player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage," in 1981.[4] Jones finished his Gator career with 2,026 yards rushing, 593 yards receiving and forty-eight yards passing, and led the team in rushing yardage for three consecutive seasons from 1980 to 1982.[4] He was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1998.[8][9] In a 2006 article series published by The Gainesville Sun, the Sun sportswriters ranked him as the No. 45 all-time greatest Gator from the first century of the Florida Gators football team.[10]

Professional career

The Detroit Lions selected Jones in the first round (thirteenth pick overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft,[11] and he played for the Lions from 1983 to 1988.[12] Jones started off for the Lions blocking for Billy Sims but became the featured back for the Lions in 1985 when Sims was injured. Jones played with Garry James from 1986 to 1988 and the tandem became known as the "James Gang." Jones' best game with the Lions was in week 1 of 1986 in a 13–10 win over the Vikings; he rushed for 174 yards on thirty-six carries and was recognized as the NFC offensive player of the week for his performance.

Jones was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 1989 for defensive back Terry Taylor, and he finished his NFL career with the Seahawks in 1992. Jones finished his ten-season NFL career having played in 135 games, started ninety-one of them, rushed for 3,626 yards and twenty-six touchdowns on 1,010 carries, and caught 318 passes for 2,641 yards and ten touchdowns.[1]

Life after the NFL

Jones became the head football coach for his high school alma mater, Blanche Ely, in 2007, but he resigned in May 2008 after a single season.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1, Players, James R. Jones. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  2., Players, James Jones Archived August 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "FHSAA unveils '100 Greatest Players of First 100 Years' as part of centennial football celebration," Florida High School Athletic Association (December 4, 2007). Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 87, 96, 103, 124, 138–140, 147–148, 182 (2011). Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  5. Norm Carlson, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, pp. 95–96 (2007).
  6. College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results 1975–1979 Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  7. College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results 1980–1984 Archived November 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  8. F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  9. Pat Dooley, "Jones, Nattiel lead class into UF Hall," The Gainesville Sun, pp. 1C & 5C (April 3, 1998). Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  10. Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 45 James Jones," The Gainesville Sun (July 20, 2006). Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  11. Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1983 National Football League Draft. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  12. National Football League, Historical Players, James Jones. July 6, 2010.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.