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All the way back: Marty Jones named OVC Defensive Player of the Week


By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- It was a long road back for Marty Jones, but on Sunday the Golden Eagle safety stamped his passport signifying his complete return to form when he was named the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Jones had five tackles, forced a fumble and had an interception as Tennessee Tech went on the road and topped Southeast Missouri, 41-16. His interception, the eighth of his career (in the photo above), came late in the second quarter as the Redhawks were trying to mount a comeback. He later forced a fumble in the second half. Jones currently ranks second in the OVC with 8.3 tackles/game

Jones has gone through two tough seasons, missing all but the opening play of 2011, and seeing action in a little more than one game last year. In both cases, injuries sidelined him for the year.

Since those disappointing seasons, Jones has been the picture of determination in fighting his way back onto the field. He is showing leadership and the ability to return to his dominating role as the starter at free safety. He ranks second on the team and second in the OVC in tackles with 91.

In 36 career games, Jones has 236 total tackles to rank second among all active players. After making 43 tackles as a true freshman in 2009, he stopped the ball carrier 87 times in 2010. He had 15 tackles in just five quarters last year when he was injured, including 13 in the opening-day win over Hampton, one shy of his previous career-best (14 at Southeast Missouri). He now has nine games with tackles in double digits.

This season has been a checklist of highlight games for the fifth-year player from Cincinnati. Against Jacksonville State he made 10 tackles including 2.5 tackles-for-loss. At Eastern Kentucky, he had seven tackles and recovered a fumble. Against UT Martin, he had 14 tackles and recovered a fumble. He made 10 tackles at No. 21 Wisconsin, seven at Hampton and eight against Tennessee State. Against Indiana State, he piled up a career-high 16 tackles.

The honor from the OVC was the first in Jones' career. Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins was seleced as both the Offensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week, while JSU placekicker Griffin Thomas  was voted the Special Teams Player of the Week.

The Golden Eagles have an open date coming up this weekend, then wrap up the 2013 schedule on Saturday, Nov. 23, by hosting Austin Peay at 1:30 p.m.