Quarterback Josh Jones, Thomson High School’s 2011 football MVP, made it official Tuesday. Jones accepted an academic scholarship to Mercer University. He joins a football program that is being revived decades after it was discontinued.
“I’ll be at the first game, watching him start at quarterback,” said Roderick Hilton, an assistant principal at THS and a 1997 graduate of the Macon university. The Mercer Bears will practice starting this fall, but will not play official games in 2012.
Jones was joined Tuesday in the school media center by his family, mother Felicia Bridges and Thomson police Capt. Jamie Bridges. Both said they enjoyed their visit to the Mercer campus.
Jones said he plans to study sports medicine at Mercer. Jones received praise Tuesday from several of those who have watched his gridiron and academic progress.
“He was our most valuable player this year,” said head coach and athletic director Milan Turner. He called Jones a great kid and a great player, and said Jones demonstrated leadership from the day Turner arrived at Thomson High School last spring.
At Mercer, Jones will play with offensive coordinator Justin Brown, who played high school football when Turner coached at Warner Robins. Turner said he also is friends with Mercer coach Bobby Lamb and defensive coordinator Jeff Farrington.
Track and football assistant coach Alvin Wright called Jones “a great kid.”
Brett Chalker, who coached Jones at the middle school level, said he is a hard worker.
Principal Cecil Strong said Jones’ academic scholarship is a credit to the student and to others. “That says a lot about the school. It says more about his family and his character to be a scholar and an athlete,” Strong said. “An athlete and a scholar in today’s society, that says a lot.”
According to the Mercer Web site, “The Board of Trustees last November unanimously approved the University’s return to competition in intercollegiate football in 2013, ending a 70-year hiatus for the sport at Mercer.” Find seven related articles at www.mercer.edu/football.