PIEDMONT—A 6-2 record puts Wren High football in a comfortable position with the season winding down, and senior defensive standout D.J. Jones is a major reason.
Jones was recently selected to represent Wren at this year’s Shrine Bowl, which pits 44 of the top players from North and South Carolina against each other each year.
“We’re certainly proud of D.J.,” said Wren Coach Jeff Tate. “It’s a great honor to be selected as one of the top 44 players in the state of South Carolina.”
Tate says being named to the Shrine Bowl roster is a great honor for his senior.
“I think we’ve got a state that has proven that we have good football players year in and year out,” said Tate. “We’re glad that D.J. plays for Wren, and we’re certainly proud of him and the job he’s done for us this year.”
Tate says Jones has played a crucial role in the team’s success this year.
“Obviously he’s having an excellent year,” said Tate. “Your play pretty much speaks for itself against the competition you go up against. He has performed well all year, and been very consistent. You know what you’re going to get with him each ball game.”
The Head coach says he’s come to expect consistent play from Jones.
“He’s going to make some big plays for you, especially when you need them,” said Tate. “He’s always good to get tackles for a loss. He’s got 28 tackles for a loss this year and there’s not many people that I would think have that many at this point in the year.”
“He gives you an athletic presence, and on top of that, he’s such a fine kid,” said Tate. “It’s always good to see the kids that work hard and have been blessed with ability use it the right way. I know he’ll be a great representative, and good ambassador for Wren High School.”
Jones, a transfer from Carolina Academy, added a key piece to Wren’s defense according to Tate.
“We were going to be good on defense, even when we didn’t know D.J. was going to be with us,” said Tate. “Once he got here, that actually gave us an opportunity to put Justin McNeil at middle linebacker. That’s (McNeil’s) most natural position, and that gave him a chance to excel, and he’s one of those guys that when he hits you, he knocks you down.”
With just two games remaining on the schedule, Tate says his defense has proven themselves all year long.
“All of those kids have played very well for us this year. They’ve been very consistent, and they haven’t blown many assignments,” said Tate. “For us to stay in ball games, we’ve got to be able to get some three-and-outs. If we can continue to do that, our kids will give us a chance to be successful.”
Jones and the Hurricane defense will face a key region game this Friday as they take on Belton-Honea Path at home.
“This is one of the best team’s that we’ll play,” said Tate.
The Shrine Bowl kicks off at 1 p.m. on Dec. 15 at Wofford College.