CHAPEL HILL – The University of North Carolina has named 20-year Veteran Jason Jones its new cornerbacks coach, Head Coach Mack Brown announced on Monday. Jones has spent his entire career coaching the secondary and also brings six years of defensive coordinator experience to Chapel Hill. He is reunited at UNC with his former defensive coordinator at Indiana Charlton Warren.
During his career, Jones has coached nine first-team all-conference honorees and 20 all-league selections. He’s mentored four Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalists and a Bronko Nagurksi Award finalist. Jones has been on the staff of five conference championship teams and has coached in 14 Bowl games, including two New Year’s Six games and a Fiesta Bowl championship.
“We’re thrilled that Jason, his wife Kysha, and their children Andrew, Jace, Jathan and Jarah are joining the Carolina football family,” Brown said. “He was highly sought after during this window and had a number of attractive offers available to him, so we’re excited he’ll be joining our staff. Jason has a wealth of experience coaching the secondary, and having worked with Coach Warren previously , he already has a firm understanding of our approach on defense. He has a proven track record of developing players across the secondary, many of whom have seen success in the NFL, and I’m looking forward to seeing him work with our cornerbacks moving forward.”
Jones comes to Chapel Hill after spending three seasons as the safeties coach at Indiana. During his time as a Hoosier, he mentored Jamar Johnson (first team) and Devon Matthews (third team) to All-Big Ten recognition. Johnson became the first IU safety to earn first-team honors since Eric Allen in 1996. He tied for third in the conference and eighth nationally with four interceptions before being selected by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the first Hoosier safety drafted since 1996. During the 2020 season, the Hoosiers led the league and finished second nationally with 17 interceptions.
In 2019, Jones served as the cornerbacks coach at FAU. Meiko Dotson earned first-team all-conference honors and shared the national lead with nine INTs. The Owls led the Nation in takeaways (33) en route to Conference USA and Boca Raton Bowl championships.
Jones spent six seasons at Ole Miss as co-defensive coordinator with a focus on the secondary. They helped convert wide receiver Derrick Jones into a defensive back. He ranked second on the team with five passes defended and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown against Georgia. The Transformation led to Jones getting selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the New York Jets.
In 2015, Jones Assisted in coordinating a Rebel defense that returned four interceptions for touchdowns, including a pick-six by cornerback Tony Bridges in the Egg Bowl. The four pick-sixes tied a school record that dates back to 1938. In total, Ole Miss ranked second in the SEC with 15 interceptions and third with 23 turnovers throughout the 2015 season. Jones mentored All-SEC DB Mike Hilton, a Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist who led all SEC defensive backs with 12.5 tackles for loss.
In 2014, Jones was tabbed the National Defensive Backs Coach of the Year by FootballScoop. They turned one of the most inexperienced units the previous year into one of the most dominant. His cornerbacks helped Ole Miss lead the nation in scoring defense (16.0) and fewest touchdowns allowed (24). Ole Miss ranked third in the SEC and 16th nationally in passing defense (192.1 ypg). The Rebels also led the SEC and ranked eighth nationally, forcing 32 turnovers, including 22 interceptions, the most in the SEC and fifth-most in the nation.
One of five Finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Award, presented annually to the national defensive player of the year in college football, cornerback Senquez Golson was a Consensus first team All-American. They led the SEC and ranked second nationally with a school record-tying 10 interceptions. He was also tied for first in the SEC and fourth nationally with 18 passes defended.
Jones arrived in Oxford after five seasons at Oklahoma State, where his teams amassed a 49-16 record. During his time in Stillwater, Jones coached three different Cowboy Corners to first-team All-Big 12 honors and a pair of Thorpe Award Semifinalists in Perrish Cox (2009) and Brodrick Brown (2011). Cox was a first-team All-American in 2009, as well.
With Jones serving as position coach, Cox led the Nation in passes defended per game in 2009 and Brown ranked third in the same category in 2011. As a team, OSU led the Nation with 44 turnovers forced in 2011 and was fifth with 34 in 2010 Jones also helped develop former high school QB Justin Gilbert, who became the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft as a cornerback.
As a unit, the Oklahoma State defense was among the nation’s most opportunistic from 2009-12, as the Cowboys forced 130 turnovers to rank second nationally in that span.
Jones went to Stillwater from Tulsa, where he served as cornerbacks Coach and special teams Coordinator in 2007. He helped the Golden Hurricane to a 10-4 record, an appearance in the Conference USA Championship game, and a 63-7 win over Bowling Green in the 2008 GMAC Bowl.
In 2006, Jones served as the cornerbacks Coach at Rice University, helping the Owls to their first Bowl trip in 45 years as the Owls competed in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
In his first stint at Tulsa, Jones coached cornerbacks and helped the Golden Hurricane to a Conference USA Championship and an appearance in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. With Jones leading the Tulsa secondary in 2005, the Hurricane defense ranked third nationally in takeaways (36) and interceptions (22) and was 11th nationally in pass efficiency defense and 17th in pass defense. Jones’ cornerbacks totaled 13 of those interceptions and had 29 passes defended.
Jones’ first coaching job came as a Graduate Assistant at Alabama, where he helped his alma mater to an appearance in the Music City Bowl.
Jones is a 2001 graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in financial planning. He was a two-year starter at defensive back for the Crimson Tide and was part of three Bowl teams, an SEC West Championship in 1996 and SEC Championship in 1999. He went on to earn a Master’s degree from Alabama in sports management in 2005.
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