The Altus Bulldogs have never had a shortage of quality running backs and given their run-first philosophy, it is no surprise they have consistently had depth at the position.
Tito Jones is well aware of the situation and he plays his role to perfection.
He has been a key player on this team since his sophomore season, when he rushed the ball 36 times for 389 yards and four touchdowns. Through the air that same year, Jones hauled in five passes for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Achieving what he did as a sophomore made him a reliable option for the Bulldogs’ coaches while allowing him to develop as a solid running back.
During his junior season in 2015, he picked up right where he left off. Splitting carries with Taven Birdow, Jones rushed for 513 yards on 47 carries, scoring six times on the ground during the Bulldogs’ championship season, while hauling in six passes for 130 yards.
Jones is slippery, hard to contain and when he finally does find the open space, he is incredibly dangerous.
Opposing defenses know it, but they have had no answer for him in his three seasons as one of the elite Bulldog backs.
During his sophomore season, Jones averaged 10.8 yards per carry. During his junior season, it was much of the same with Jones gouging the defense for 10.9 yards per carry.
He has been a nearly unstoppable force for the Bulldogs, coming up big when his number is called.
His love for football came while playing flag football, but it was only a stepping stone to where he is today.
“I decided to try it out in pads after flag football,” Jones said. “When I was about 13, I decided football was something I wanted to pursue in my life. Football has helped me become more of a leader and having others step up and lead is what makes our team so great.”
Jones modeled his game after former University of Southern California star Reggie Bush.
Bush is elusive and fast and has made a career out of punishing opposing defenses. Glimpses of Bush can be seen when Jones takes a handoff.
This season, Jones has rushed for 136 yards on 21 carries, while scoring four times. He is on pace to score more touchdowns than in seasons past and that can be attributed to Jones’ awareness and his refusal to be stopped before he reaches the end zone.
He does all that on the offensive side of the ball while also stepping up on defense.
Jones has 10 tackles this season and one of those is for a loss. He also has a fumble recovery, but probably his most impressive statistic is his six pass break-ups.
Offenses the Bulldogs have battled this season have not centered around passing the football, and one reason for that is Jones.
Receivers very rarely find themselves without Jones shadowing and when the ball is thrown toward him, chances are he is preventing the completion.
Jones’ other favorite player is Vernon Hargreaves III, former lockdown corner at the University of Florida.
Jones is a jack-of-all-trades, and he has proven it week in and week out.
Halfway through the season, Jones is only one quick step away from breaking out and reaching his full potential.
That is exciting for Bulldogs fans, but scary for anybody who will try to stop him.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.