By Patrick CrawfordArkansas Media Relations From the very start of 2010 fall practices, Arkansas’ coaching staff knew they’d found a special freshmen in defensive tackle Byran Jones. Hailing from Junction City, Ark., Jones helped bring two football state championships to Junction City, and also proved to be exceptional at both shot put and weight lifting. Jones was ranked as the No. 2 recruit in the state of Arkansas by Rivals. He was a first-team all-state selection in 2009. As a senior, he recorded 97 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss and recovered four fumbles. Jones was coached at Junction City by David Carpenter. A versatile athlete, Jones also played offensive line for his Dragon squad and played basketball. He threw the shot 52 feet, 10 ½ inches in April of his senior year to win his fourth-consecutive Class 2A state championship. He bench-pressed 385 pounds and power-cleaned 305 pounds to finish second at the 2010 Arkansas High School Weightlifting Championships. Jones is the son of Otis and Kathy Jones.
Q: Byran, you came to UA from the Junction City area. What was going through your mind as you moved to the Northwest Arkansas area and Fayetteville, a college town?
A: I spent all of last summer in Washington D.C., so I think that helped me adjust to big city life. So, nothing here in Fayetteville really has surprised me. But, it’s definitely bigger than where I came from, that’s for sure.Q: Speaking of Fayetteville, what have you liked about the home of the Razorbacks?A: I’ve felt like I never have to worry about anything. It is a peaceful town. The people are nice around here. They enjoy speaking with me and treat me very nicely.Q: One of your high school teammates and best friends, Alan Turner is here playing football at UA, as well. How has it been having someone you’re very familiar with starting out at UA with you?A: He’s my roommate here, too; it’s been a really good thing. We’re just like brothers. He grew up just up the road from me. We were practically raised together. We have four people to a room, with Braylon Mitchell and Darrell Smith rooming with us. We’ve got a Playstation 3 and an Xbox 360 in there.Q: According to your high school head coach David Carpenter, you were physically-gifted enough to play varsity football as a freshmen. Coming out of Junction City high school, what type of adjustment have you had to make to perform in a tough position like defensive tackle?A: There are bigger, faster and stronger people out here. I’ve adjusted well to it. I did pretty well against my opponents in high school, but I’m learning here. My teammates have been helping me along.Q: What has it been like learning from the veterans on Arkansas’ defense?A: They’ve showed me the basics and more about our defense. D.D. Jones, Patrick Jones and the rest of the defensive line have helped me. They’ve been bringing me along, showing me the ropes.Q: In high school, you were a four-time state champion in the shot put, as well as a excellent weight lifter. Will it be tough to only focus on football now?A: I won’t miss those other things, because right now my focus is on school and football. Those will take up a lot of time. Of course in high school, I had a little bit of free time. But this is college now. I liked shot put a lot because it was straight competition between people. It was basically who could throw it further.Q: Byran, you have two cousins who play in the NFL: Chicago Bears safety Kevin Payne and Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Demetrius Bell. How is it having two NFL players in your family to call upon for football advice?A: We communicate about some things, but I’ve got a big family. I asked Kevin (Payne) for advice back during my recruitment process in high school. He told me to pick what was best for me, and then work hard. They have told me always keep working and have a good attitude.
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