Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

July 1, 2014

Making the Cut

Former Blazer receiver Seantavius Jones focuses on making the Saints

VALDOSTA — A star player for the Valdosta State Blazers, Seantavius Jones has joined the esteemed ranks of the National Football League. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 210 pounds, Jones has the perfect frame to be a successful NFL wide receiver.

As a Blazer, Jones earned two first-team All-Gulf South Conference honors his junior and senior years in addition to earning a new VSU and GSC record for most touchdowns in a game with six scores against Delta State in his final season. He also broke the GSC record for most points scored in a game by a single player with 36 in that same game.

Jones, nicknamed “Stretch” for his ability to out jump defenders, especially in the red zone, finished his VSU career with 149 catches for 2,374 yards and 33 touchdowns, with 26 of them coming in his final two seasons.

After participating in VSU’s Pro Day, Jones awaited hearing his name called in May at the NFL draft. It did not happen.

What did happen were numerous calls delivered to “Stretch” as soon as the draft ended. He received calls from the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins, but it wasn’t until the New Orleans Saints called that Jones knew he had found a home.

“It was a surreal feeling. I realized I had an opportunity to go play for a NFL team. That is a lot of people’s dreams, including mine, and I finally got that call. Even though I didn’t get drafted, I was blessed to get that call,” said Jones.

He began rookie training camp on May 11 in Louisiana and has since been participating in all of the Saints training activities.

“OTA’s have been going well. I think I’m opening a lot of eyes and showing them what I can do and my talent,” said Jones. “We run a lot of routes daily. We catch a lot of passes and learn the formations. But really, we run routes for the most part of the day.”

Jones has been soaking up the whole experience, taking advantage of the learning opportunities from veterans, the NFL weight rooms and training programs.

In addition to working with legendary quarterback Drew Brees, Jones cherishes working with other legends whom he has respected through the years.

“I’ve caught a few passes from Brees, but It’s not just working with Brees that is amazing, there are a ton of legendary players on the Saints right now. Champ Bailey, Marques Colston and Robert Meachem are all players I’ve always looked up to and have played with on Madden,” said Jones. “I felt kind of starstruck when I first got there but I’m used to it now. It was crazy just being on the same field with them.”

Getting a chance to be coached by Sean Payton has been a highlight for Jones, but more importantly, he has benefited from his wide-receiver coaching.

Henry Ellard is the wide-receiver coach for the Saints and is a three-time Pro Bowl participant. He played in the NFL — 12 years for the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins.

“He (Ellard) had a great NFL career and he knows a lot. All the advice he gives is great advice. Payton also knows a lot. He’s big on making plays and doing the right thing, an overall great head coach,” said Jones.

Contrary to some beliefs, Jones says he loves the bond he sees within the Saints organization.

“I like how close everyone is. It’s not how everyone would expect. You would think a NFL team was all about money but with the Saints, everyone is so close like a family. I love that,” said Jones.

Jones wasn’t shy about mentioning a specific lesson he learned at VSU that he’s carried with him to the Saints organization.

“Coaches from VSU always told me to make the play when there is an opportunity. I took that to the Saints with me. Every time an opportunity is given, I try my best to make the play,” said Jones.

Another former Blazer also got the call to join the Saints. Defensive end Lawrence Virgil, a Brooks County product, has been participating in workouts with the Saints as well and Jones appreciates having his old teammate by his side.

“It’s actually a great feeling having a college teammate out here with me. The whole period we’re going through is very stressful. We really don’t know who is going to make the team and there are so many people fighting to make the team. It’s a big advantage having someone to talk to in Virgil there,” said Jones. “A lot of people are just meeting people and don’t know who to trust, but having a teammate there really helps out.”

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