The one and only Walter Jones hails from Aliceville, Alabama. After high school Jones enrolled at Holmes Community College in Mississippi, where he played for two seasons at both offensive tackle and tight end. In his final season he was named the Mississippi Junior College Player of the Year. In his two seasons with the Bulldogs Jones only allowed one sack.
Jones of course transferred to Florida State to play under then-head coach Bobby Bowden, but he redshirted his first season in the Garnet and Gold in 1995. The following season FSU initially placed Jones at guard before injuries forced a move to tackle. Jones had bulked up to 290 pounds, a far cry from Holmes where he played at 265. But despite the weight gain, Jones didn’t lose any of his agility, quickness, or explosiveness.
Jones started every game in 1996 protecting the blindside of quarterback Thad Busby and run blocking for Warrick Dunn, and did a dadgum good job of it too.
FSU went undefeated in the regular season but dropped the Sugar Bowl in a re-match with the Florida Gators. But Jones was stellar, allowing a total of, you guessed it, just one sack.
After the season Jones was named a second team All-American by the Associated Press and second team All-ACC. Unfortunately, that’s all the time FSU got with Jones; he forfeited his final year of college eligibility to enter the 1997 NFL Draft.
But it was the right decision. Jones was drafted sixth overall by the Seattle Seahawks and went on to have one of the greatest careers in pro football history. Jones was named to a total of nine Pro Bowls, and was named first-team All-Pro four times and second-team two times. He played a total of 180 games in the NFL, along the way being named the best player in the NFL by Sporting News in 2006. He was later named to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team. Jones is widely considered one of if not the greatest offensive tackle of all time. April 30th was declared “Walter Jones Day” in the state of Washington by gubernatorial proclamation. As if that wasn’t enough, Jones was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 2014.