Evan Jones cannot wait to team up with legendary MSU strength coach Ken Mannie. Jones says that on his visit to East Lansing, the Spartans’ strength and conditioning coach made as much of an impact on him as anyone.
“I’d heard of all his hard work and had been watching videos on YouTube,” he says, “and some of the other kids were telling me how he’d just pack the weight on me, and I just love that. I’m excited to see what he can do to my body to make me that much better.
It was not all talk either; Jones saw proof.
“To be honest, I was looking at William Gholston,” he says. “Some of the coaches started telling me how he’d transformed just since getting in there the year before. They were saying he came in like an outside backer and has just transformed into this monster. I can’t wait to see what I transform into.”
At 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, this tight end is open to playing other positions if a need arises.
“I’m playing in the (Ohio) north versus south game, and I’m going to be playing tackle, so I’ll do the best I can there. I’ve just got to take what the situations give me.”
On the south all-star team in that game, Jones will play with two future teammates: quarterback Tyler O’Connor and wide receiver Monty Madaris. Future Spartan Jermaine Edmondson will line up against his future teammates for the north team.
“I love the camaraderie. I think it’s awesome,” Jones says before promising to not go after Edmondson too hard.
Ironically considering how aggressively he plays, Jones actually claims to not like hurting people. “I know I have a couple times, and I just don’t like it. I know it’s part of the game, though, so if it happens, it happens.”
He attributes this strong character to his parents, who he says raised him well.
“It’s all about how you’re raised. I’ve been taught what to do and what not to do from the beginning. Faith is another big thing.”
He says his mother is also a workout-freak.
“She works out every morning!” He says. “I think she could really kick my butt if she wanted to.”
Surprisingly, Evan did not actually spend much time lifting weights before this year.
“It’s actually been because of the recruiting process,” he says. “Ever since I started getting recruited, I’ve lived in the weight room.”
In addition to Coach Mannie, Jones says there are many things he was attracted to in East Lansing.
“It was everything, the whole feel of the area. The atmosphere, coaches, facilities, the other committed players.”
His style of play also fits in very well with the MSU offense.
“I like blocking better than going out for passes, so I like that that’s what I’ll be doing more there. If I end up going out for passes, that’ll be fine, too. My high school team was pretty run-oriented – a hard-nosed team just pound, pound, pound coming up the middle.”
With that experience and mindset, it is not hard to see how THE BULLDOZER will fit into the “Pound Green Pound” mantra Coach Dantonio and the Spartans live by.