Army Black Knights senior quarterback Jemel Jones had his first start of the 2022 season last Saturday in a 42-17 victory over Colgate. He ran for two touchdowns, and 113 yards on 12 carries. Jones earned Honorable Mention Player of the Week Honors from the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
We had a one-on-one conversation with Jones to get a deeper dive into the senior quarterback. Jones is a die-hard New Orleans Saints fan. He also loves old-school R&B, thanks to his mother’s fantastic musical tastes. As Jones enjoys his final year of college football at West Point he is simultaneously preparing for his active-duty military career and life after West Point.
Army’s Senior QB Jemel Jones Talks Life, Football, and R&B
Jones was born in New Orleans and lived there until he was five years old. Then in 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the city. He and his family escaped the day before the devastating destruction of Katrina. Their house was in New Orleans East and took on nine feet of water. Fortunately, Jemel Jones Sr. was in the hotel industry and his company was able to relocate him to the Dallas area. His extended family escaped unharmed as well.
While his extended family did eventually move back to Louisiana, Jemel’s parents decided that Texas had better educational opportunities for him and his younger sister Tamia. It also offered better opportunities in sports. The newly minted Texans never forgot their home. They spent every major holiday as well as the summers in New Orleans. The sports opportunities paid off, with Jemel now playing football at West Point and Tamia being a basketball player at Southern Methodist University.
Texas High School Football
Jemel pretty much started playing football the minute he arrived in the state of Texas. He grew up in The Colony and took his first snaps under center at just five years old. Being in Texas where all things revolve around football, Jones was able to grow up playing the game. He went through the pee wee program at The Colony, then middle school and high school. “I always looked up to those high school players as I was growing up. I was fortunate to be mentored by those players,” Jones recalled. “It was a dream come true when I was able to play high school football at The Colony.”
He earned the starting quarterback position in his sophomore year. Jones led his team to the playoffs. They lost to Wiley East in 1st round. In his Junior season, The Colony went 8-4 and won the District Championship. It was the first time they won the district championship. Although they again lost to Wiley East this time in 2nd round. Jones finished his junior season with 1,512 passing yards with 13 TDS, 1,037 rushing yards, and 9 TDS, along with 50 receiving yards and a TD. Along with the yards, he was named District 14-5a MVP.
Unfortunately, he suffered an Achilles injury the summer before his senior year of high school. Jones is grateful for the ‘lessons in patience’ his Achilles injury taught him. He credits that as a blessing and it helped to steer him to West Point.
Why West Point?
When Army originally came calling the only thing Jones knew about Army West Point was the Army/Navy game. As he got further into the recruiting process and made a trip to the Academy the choice was clear. The opportunity to serve and give back to his country was a huge selling point for Jones. “The opportunities of a West Point education for life after football was a 40-year decision, not just a four-year decision. The alumni and networking opportunities were another big selling point,” commented Jones.
Jones is an Engineer Management Major, with a focus on systems engineering. He is still undecided on what he wants to do with his degree after his active duty commitment is fulfilled. Jones says he is open to any and all opportunities. He is hoping that his active duty service leads him to a future career. He is excited to find out about his official post in December.
Ahmad Bradshaw was the Army quarterback when Jones was in his prep year. “Ahmad was a great mentor. He was able to share some of the wisdom from being a cadet and a football player. He coached me while in prep school and he taught me so many of the little things I needed to know about our offense. I felt like I had an advantage when I got to the academy.” Jones explained. “He helped me with the mental side of being a cadet and football player” he continued.
Like Bradshaw did for him, Jones is now doing for the younger quarterbacks on the team. Having been through the highs and lows of being an Army football player. “I know what it is like when you feel like everything is against you and I also know what it is like to be on top and feel like you can do no wrong. Just being able to teach them how to maintain consistency and not get too high or too low while they are here,” noted Jones. He knows the importance of being a senior and being able to share his knowledge of the unique Army offense with the younger players. Jones knows the knowledge that Bradshaw shared helped him as a player and a cadet now he is doing the same.
A True Football Fan
As Jones reiterates that he is a die-hard Saints fan. He is also a genuine football fan. Being a quarterback and watching other quarterbacks play, his favorite players extend beyond the Saints. Obviously, Drew Brees is on top of the list. But players like Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have been influential on Jones whether he knows it or not. Football players tend to watch football games differently. They tend to pick up little things during football games that the casual fan doesn’t see. So as a quarterback watching what those players accomplish on the field during pivotal points in games how can he not be influenced? “Watching Mahomes play and knowing that no matter how far behind they might be they have a chance to win. The things he does on the field are almost unbelievable,” exclaimed Jones.
When Did You Fall In Love With Football
“Ooohhhh I fell in love with football at a young age. As I said I have always been a New Orleans Saints fan. The days when Aaron Brooks and Deuce McAllister were playing when I was a little boy. I was a Saints fan even after I moved to Texas. I was NEVER a Cowboys fan (insert laughter here). I just loved football. I knew I wanted to play quarterback since I was little and I wanted to make it to the college level. I have loved it forever. My dad tells me he took me to his old high school on Friday nights to see games where he played, at Saint Augustine in New Orleans. Those were my earliest football memories.” Jones expressed with passion.
Although, Jones Sr. was more of a baseball player in high school Saint Augustine has a rich football history nonetheless. It is where Leonard Fournette and Tyrann Mathieu went to high school.
Old School R&B
Jemel’s mom, Tanya raised him on some great old-school R&B music. As kids do they act like they are not interested. But now Jemel says, “My favorite way to unwind and chill is to listen to some old-school R&B music. Usher is one of my favorites. When I was little I was the biggest Usher fan. My mom had an Usher DVD I watched all the time. Outkast was another favorite of mine.” However, when asked the question, Tupac or Biggie, Jemel answered “Biggie.” He claims that being in New York for the last several years influenced his answer. After a little ribbing, Jones did a little bit of a backpedal and said he enjoys both Biggie and Tupac.
Jones has never attended a concert in his life. With that in mind, the next obvious question was who is on his Top Five list of concerts he would like to see (living or dead)? Without hesitation, he answered, “Michael Jackson my mom was a huge Michael fan so I would love to see him. I would love to see a Drake concert, and I have always liked Lil Wayne. I would like to see Travis Scott– I hear his concerts are a little crazy. Number five I would have to say Usher I think he would be a great one to see live.”
When Jones finally decides to settle down he would like to be in the Dallas area. “It is where I grew up. I absolutely love it down there. I love going home too and just being around my friends and family doing all the fun stuff that Dallas and the metroplex have to offer. I am not a big fan of the cold weather so I will be ready to get back to Texas. ” said Jones.
As for active duty goals, Jemel says “I plan to branch air defense. I can see myself doing air assault school at some point. I have always thought I would be a five-and-fly guy but I could really fall in love with what I am doing. I am always open to any and all opportunities down the line whether I get out in five years or I make it a career I am open to all of it.”