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Days start early for St. Mary’s (Stockton) junior center and defensive lineman Hayden Jones.
A typical day starts when Jones wakes up at 4 a.m. He will train from 5-6:30 a.m. before school, then go to class, practice, meal prep at home and then complete his homework before starting the process all over again the next day.
They are long hours, but Jones enjoys it.
“I like just being the best I can and being the best I can for the season,” Jones said. “I want to be better than my opponent.”
Throughout his career, Jones saw what it took to achieve greatness.
His older brother, Hunter Jones, is currently a redshirt freshman offensive lineman at Cal Poly after transferring from Rice, where he appeared in four games. Hunter Jones was always a star, previously an all-state candidate and team MPV at St. Mary’s.
“Seeing my brother play and go through the ranks and seeing him get recruited, it kind of showed me how things went, and it gave me an idea of what I needed to do and how big I needed to get and things I needed to acquire to be at the next level,” Hayden Jones said.
Since he was 7 years old in those first days playing football, Hayden Jones put himself on a similar path to success and to eventually play college football.
Hayden Jones was called up to the St. Mary’s varsity squad for the playoffs as a freshman, and then he played varsity his entire sophomore campaign – one filled with plenty of accolades.
Garnering first team all-league honors, Hayden Jones and the Rams won a league title and appeared in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
“It gave me a lot of confidence, especially being a little bit of a smaller guy going in as a sophomore and then beating out a lot of seniors and juniors,” Hayden Jones. “It gave me a lot of confidence in myself and allowed me to put on a lot of weight and feel better for this next season coming up. I did good. I also made first team all-league for the league, Sac-Joaquin, and it was good.”
Not only is Hayden Jones dominating on the football field, but he’s also maintained a 4.0 GPA his entire time at St. Mary’s.
“Mainly just my work ethic too and planning and writing things down and getting ready for the next day and always being on top of everything,” Hayden Jones said.
This offseason, it’s only been more growth for Hayden Jones, witnessing more growth mentally following his impressive sophomore season, in addition to adding strength, speed and size to his frame.
“The offseason has gone really good,” Hayden Jones said. “I’ve mainly been working on getting bigger, getting bigger for this upcoming season and being more explosive out of my stance and learning d-line a lot more.”
Hayden Jones said he’s been talking to multiple schools to play for their respective football programs and is looking for that first offer.
But, even when that first offer pours in, Hayden Jones won’t stop working as hard as he is now.
“It would be a very big accomplishment,” Hayden Jones said. “Kind of feels like a lot of my hard work is paying off a lot, but even if I do get a first one I’m going to keep working.”
More goals are on the horizon for Hayden Jones, who is working for even more entering his junior year at St. Mary’s.
Maybe another first team nod. And maybe a championship.
“I think some goals would be to make first team all-league again and for defense as well, and I think for our goals as a team would definitely be to win section and go as far as we can after that,” Hayden Jones said.
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