Deshawn Jones | Missouri University of Science and Technology | RB
Twitter: D1_Chicago | Instagram: D1_Chicago
Q: Tell us about your college (or pro) career and what the recruiting/scouting process was like. Why did you choose Missouri University of Science and Technology?
A: In high school, I did not have a real understanding about “college”. All I knew was that I wanted to play football right away and that I could not afford to pay for college out of pocket. So, when offered to be a preferred walk on by some Division 1 Universities, I respectfully turned them down. A lot of schools wanted me to play both sides of the ball at the D2/D3 level because of my defensive film from my junior year and my 2k+ all-purpose yards and 26 TDs my senior year. Yet, my dream was to play running back and that was the primary position that I told recruiters I wanted to play at. A coach by the name of Shoemaker came to my school talking about this small engineering University in the city of Rolla called Missouri S&T. To be honest, I had no intentions on even considering this school. It was the boldness of the coaches in their recruiting tactics that really put them on top of the list. After visiting the school and sitting with the Head Coach, I knew that this would be the school. Other schools didn’t believe that a 5’7” 170lb (at the time) RB could come in right away and play, yet the coaches at S&T believed in me. That made all the difference in the world. I spent a lifetime turning doubters into believers but this time the belief was already there. So, shout out to S&T and if I had to do it all over again, I would choose them 100x over.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: I was fortunate to have a lot of success in my career thanks to my teammates and coaches. There were accomplishments that I never thought I would actually achieve. Top of that list is the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award; as well as being a nominee for the Harlon Hill Award (D2 Heisman equivalent). Yet, my biggest accomplishment was being a 3x recipient of the CoSIDA Academic All-American Award (2017, ‘18, and ‘19). I consider this my biggest accomplishment because my absolute goal was to work just as hard in the classroom as I did in the weight room and on the field. It was my intent to be a dominate student-athlete on all cylinders and be an example for younger athletes; teaching them that school is just as important as sports. I grew up with ALOT of great athletes who was held back from reaching their true potential because they did not prioritize their education. So, I wanted to show that it is more than possible to be able to be a top student and a top tier athlete even in college.
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing at Missouri University of Science and Technology?
A: One of the most important things I learned from Missouri S&T coaching staff was how to dissect film and study your opponent. They taught me how to key on certain alignments and movements that are tell-tale signs of the opponent’s schemes such as slants and stunts. Seeing certain actions and movements, I automatically knew where the gaps would open up at and what their weaknesses were. I was watching for players who over-run plays, who break down flat footed and players who did and did not do ball pursuit. I watched for linebackers who would fly into gaps, DBs who was not good at tackling and the ankle tacklers who did not want contact. I was playing the play in my head before it actually happened and this slowed the game down to my time. They showed me the true essence behind football being a mental game just as much as a physical one. I went week in and week out adjusting my running scheme in practice that would best expose the weakness of our opponents. The result of that was many broken records.
Q: How was your career impacted due to the 2020 pandemic and what have you learned from the adversity?
A: For me, the pandemic was a huge setback. Prior to it, I had a pro day scheduled and some CFL tryouts as well. A week out from the pro-day, everything was cancelled and many of us small school guys was left in limbo. The agent who was supposed to be representing me kind of jump ship as he said that the pandemic really impacted our options. That situation combined with losing 7 family members from Coronavirus was probably one of the toughest upsets I had to ever face. Yet, my passion, love and drive for the game would not allow me to surrender. I know that I am capable of being a pro-athlete and the adversity that I had to overcome only made me more driven to succeed. All I need is an opportunity, and I will certainly handle the rest.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: I majored in Biological Sciences and Minored in Chemistry. If football just so happens not to work out, then I will attend Medical school and accomplish the second part of my dream of becoming a Trauma Surgeon. My number one focus and priority is to continue playing football for as long as I can. I can become a Doctor at the age of 50 but the opportunity to play pro-football can only happen now.
I was fortunate to have a lot of success in my career thanks to my teammates and coaches. There were accomplishments that I never thought I would actually achieve. Top of that list is the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award; as well as being a nominee for the Harlon Hill Award (D2 Heisman equivalent).
~ Deshawn Jones
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: I believe that my teammates would say that I am truly a hardworking individual who always spent more time being productive than anything else. I believe that they would attest to my willingness to always extend a helping hand whenever needed. My best qualities mentioned might be my leadership and passion for the game. I know my o-line would say good things because I use to take them out to eat after any game that we rushed for over 100 yards and big guys loved to eat.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: My most memorable play ever was my very first football play. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a baseball player until my coach and brother forced me to play football. It was the first preseason game of the season and I was on the first line of kick return. It was a wet, cold, muddy night game and we were playing against the biggest team in our division. I was in 5th grade at this time and these dudes looked like high schoolers. I remember sitting there in my baseball stance on the football field, praying that the ball did not come to me. Next thing you know, the ball comes rolling tip to tip directly to me. It seemed so slow and I said to myself “all I got to do is bend down and field the ball”. Ball slipped straight through my hands and all I had time to think was “oh s***”. I definitely had a concussion after that and I only knew that because I saw two images of my brother standing in front of me. I was ready to quit but my brother would not let me. After that game, we actually went undefeated, won conference, but lost championship to the same team. I was awarded the most improved offensive player of the year, leading the league in scoring. From that point on, I was eager to play football and win that championship.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: My biggest challenge has been competing against the idea that size is relevant to a player’s ability. All my life, I was doubted to be even a decent running back because of my size. Yet, time and time again I have proven that size is not a factor when it comes to me. When you can leg press over a 1000+ lbs., bench press 225 20 times, squat 455, and outlift even the heaviest of your opponents, people start to believe you. I have physical evidence that I am more than capable of dominating at the pro level. I just continue to get stronger, faster and better. Waiting for a team to say “this guy deserves a chance”.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: I grew up studying running backs like Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmit Smith, etc. For the longest, I modeled my run style as sort of a combination of them all. Yet, if I had to identify myself with a pro, I would say that I can compare to Marshall Faulk and not just athletically but I believe we have similar mentalities as well. In terms of our play styles, the way that Marshall anticipates his moves and read his opponents, that is one of my best qualities as an RB. Being able to predict your opponent’s move based on their momentum and body position is what set us up to make guys miss. One-on-one open field, that defender is bound to have turf in their face.
Mentally, being able to break down the game and understand the simpleness of it is what allows us to become complex players. Understanding the physics, geometry and physiology of it all makes us precise decision makers. For us, it’s not about “I’m going to run fast and hard and hopefully no one can stop me”. It is more like “there’s an opening and if I time my blockers correctly, set them up to be in good positions to make a great block, I can explode through this hole, create a one-on-one with the safety and beat him by either breaking his ankles, hurdling over him or simply just run him over”. For us, there is a deeper understanding to the game.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: Agility with speed and vision is my greatest strength as a playmaker. Whether it is in the backfield finding the edge, bursting through gaps and exposing cut back lanes or at slot finding the windows in zone coverage and beating linebackers one on one, with me on the roster, the offense will either be moving the chains or breaking the plane. Pro scouts should consider me if they want to enhance their big play ability and their spread offense.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back” or ”pay it forward” in your community?
A: I have always made it my business to be active in the community by any way possible. In college I was a mentor for “Mentoring Makes a Difference”, a STEM Educator for the local elementary school, as well as a crew member of Love Your Melons, an organization that fundraises, increases awareness, and provide support for pediatric cancer.
Now, I am providing free sport performance and fitness training from youth-aged to college athletes and low-income families. I am working on building a organization that specialize in providing free training sessions in low-income communities as well as free tutoring.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2021 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: I am in the gym EVERYDAY working out. Speed, strength and agility training. My goal is to produce my personal best in every category and leave it all out there. I know that small school guys like me get overlooked all too often and that I will have to put forth 120% effort if I even want a shot at professional play. My main goal is that by the end of the combine, I know that I gave my absolute best and that I both physically and mentally gave all that I had to give. I plan on walking off that field with no regrets at all.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: The ultimate achievement for me would be earning the opportunity to continue to play the sport that I love for an extended period of time. Of course, it would be a dream come true to be in the NFL, but whether it’s the CFL, XFL or any other equivalent football league, the feeling is all the same. I just want to ball at the highest level and I know a few NFL teams that could really use me.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: When not playing football, I enjoy helping others work toward their dreams and accomplish their goals. Growing up, I never had anyone there to push me or motivate me to grind or work hard, I had to drag myself out of the bed early mornings and force my body to get better. Not everyone has the capability of doing that. If I did have someone there for me, I probably would have been at an even higher potential. Knowing this, I try to be the person that I needed during my development, for others. This truly gives my life meaning and satisfaction.
Q: If you could make a positive impact on all of society what would it be and why?
A: If I could make a positive impact, I would help to bring peace, love and respect back to our society. We all are aware of the issues and divide that we are facing today. I know that many people do not foresee a viable solution to the issues that have been persisting for as long as we can remember, yet there is a solution that does not involve harming our own. I believe that those three simple things, peace, love and respect, are the key to us finding that solution and teamwork is the fuel that powers it all.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: Dr. Eric Thomas has been the most influential person in my life. The inner voice that speaks self-motivation inside of me is his voice. His inspirational and motivational videos have truly gotten me to a whole new level mentally and made my drive and determination indestructible.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: I can leg press over ½ ton which is more than 5.5 times my body weight.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: My dream job is to first be a professional football player for as long as I can and then to be an ex-professional football player who now practice medicine as a Trauma Surgeon.