Back Rolland-Jones an Arkansas State Superstar

Rolland-Jones an Arkansas State Superstar

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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With an unrivaled resume, Ja'Von Rolland-Jones is a superstar with a legacy still being written.

Over the last three seasons, Ja'Von Rolland-Jones has compiled 30.5 sacks, 45.5 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles. Not a single one of the recent first round NFL Draft picks had better production than Rolland-Jones did, with 13 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss, a year ago. The Arkansas State senior is the tone-setter for a defense that just led the nation in tackles for loss per game and was sixth in sacks. Rolland-Jones isn't just one of the premier performers in the group of five, he is one of the best players in all of college football.

A Texas-native, Rolland-Jones came to Jonesboro after tying for the regular season state sack lead as a prep senior. Entering his final year of college, Rolland-Jones is already the Sun Belt's all-time leader.

An pre-season injury may have slowed the start of Rolland-Jones' playing career, but it certainly didn't stop it. After redshirting in 2013 to become fully healthy, and earning academic honor roll honors in the process, Rolland-Jones burst onto the national scene with a school-record five sacks in a road win at Idaho. In a year where he missed the final few games due to injury, Rolland-Jones finished with eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss and was named second-team all-conference. An unrelenting standard was set.

Rolland-Jones' encore performance featured more of the same. As a sophomore, he led the Sun Belt with nine sacks, adding a league-high four forced fumbles and 13 tackles for loss. A featured edge-rusher, Rolland-Jones emerged as a consistently productive threat; he recorded at least a half-sack in eight different games in 2015. Fittingly, in season two, Rolland-Jones earned first-team all-conference honors.  

Last fall was where Rolland-Jones became a national name. He finished in the top five in the country in sacks and in the top ten in tackles for loss. Rolland-Jones, as a defender, was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year as a junior, helping the Red Wolves finish with a top 20 scoring defense. Down the stretch, he was absolutely unstoppable; Rolland-Jones recorded 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss over his final five games, a stretch which included a blowout win at Troy and a Cure Bowl triumph over Central Florida.

Entering his senior season, Rolland-Jones is an All-American candidate, a record-holder, a team leader and a major NFL prospect. With a spot in the history books and multiple championship rings already secured, Rolland-Jones may be poised for his biggest year yet. He will get a chance to make even more of a name for himself early in the season as Arkansas State opens at Nebraska and with Miami at home. What's more, Rolland-Jones will visit SMU in late September, less than 20 miles from where he played high school football.

With an unrivaled resume, Rolland-Jones is a superstar with a legacy still being written. Look for him in the backfield and the back of the media guide alike.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Matt Osborne and Kevin Thomas on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network and is the sports director for multiple ESPN Radio affiliates based throughout southeast Georgia. @BJBennettSports