Michigan State got the best news of the day when junior linebacker Greg Jones announced that he would return for his senior season for the Spartans.
The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Jones led the Big Ten and ranked third in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 154 tackles, the seventh-best single-season total in MSU history.
“I’m excited to announce that I’m returning to Michigan State for my senior season,” Jones said.
“After the bowl game, I was leaning toward returning, but it was important for me to step back and do my homework in regards to the NFL Draft."
"The bottom line is that I greatly value the relationships that I have here with my coaches and teammates, and I’m not ready to let go of these Spartan family ties yet. My teammates and I have some unfinished business to take care of, and despite our final record of 6-7 from 2009, we’re not that far away from being a championship contender."
"I have returned to help Michigan State compete for the Big Ten championship and a BCS bowl bid," Jones said in a statement.
Jones ranked third in the NCAA FBS in tackles per game (11.8), tied for 30th in sacks (0.69 per game) and tied for 51st in tackles for loss (1.08 per game).
He also finished among the Big Ten leaders in sacks (fifth) and tackles for loss (10th). Jones led the team in tackles (154 total), tackles for loss (14.0 for 69 yards), sacks (9.0 for 53 yards) and production points (282).
He became the first Spartan to record back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since 2003-04 when both linebacker Ronald Stanley and free safety Jason Harmon reached the milestone.
“For me, the 2010 season began Monday with the start of the spring semester. I want to be remembered for helping to bring a Big Ten championship back to Michigan State.
That process begins immediately as the coaches put the finishing touches on this year’s recruiting class, and we prepare to start the winter conditioning program. We’ll use the winter conditioning program and spring practice to build team chemistry as we all set our sights on competing for the Big Ten title.”
“Greg Jones is an outstanding leader and player, and he remains the catalyst for our entire defense,” Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio said.
“With his announcement, we have signed our most valuable recruit in the 2010 Class. A consensus All-American and two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, he’s the unquestioned MVP of our defense.
Greg is the perfect guy to build this team around because he does things the right way."