April 26, 2012
By Tim Miguel - Cal Athletic Communications
All Marvin Jones has ever asked for is a chance. After that, he would take care of the rest.
In the past few months, Jones has done everything possible to open eyes and alert the attention of NFL teams across the country. As if his stellar collegiate career wasn't attention-grabbing enough, Jones has taken advantage of every opportunity to further increase his chances of playing on Sundays. He feels like he could not be more ready for the next phase of his football career.
"It's been a long road of work," Jones said. "Going to the [NFL] Combine, Senior Bowl, showing improvement, talking to teams and proving that you're highly thought of - it's been a great process. I'm glad it's almost over, and I'm glad it's going to be draft day soon."
Jones caught his big break as a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster. He made the best of that opportunity by scoring a touchdown, and more importantly, putting himself in front of the spotlight with NFL scouts watching everywhere.
As much as Jones was excited about his performance in that game, to him, it was just a matter of him doing the same things he's always done. This time, it was just on a larger platform where more people could see.
"It's me doing what I've been doing, being consistent in showing everybody what I can do," Jones said. "The Senior Bowl was a big day for me. That was something that I truly wanted to go to because there were people who had questions about my game or didn't see specific things on the film. I knew I could go to the Senior Bowl and switch their whole perspective about me. I think that's what has been the greatest elevator for the scouts and everybody. They got to take a look at me against some of the top prospects in the nation, and being successful against them. I knew I could go there and turn some heads. The Senior Bowl has really gotten me to this point, and that's all I wanted was to perform in front of the coaches and players. People said I wouldn't run fast, but I ended up running what I knew I was going to run."
Since his impressive day at the Senior Bowl, the past few months have been a whirlwind for Jones. He said he has gotten an average of 10-12 calls per day from scouts and representatives from NFL teams, but he has enjoyed the journey 100 percent. Jones said this process has not been tiring, and he would remind himself that that this is something he will only experience once in his life and to enjoy the ride.
Unlike many of the other NFL hopefuls in the pool with him, Jones also has a family to think about. His girlfriend, Jazmyn Mathis, and their two children - Marv III and Mareon - are his life. As much as he wants to be successful for himself, taking care of his family comes first and foremost.
"I'm confident in myself and I know I'm a hard worker, but it does add more anxiety," Jones said of his familial responsibilities. "I'm just excited for us to embark on our new city or wherever we go, just being together and me providing for them. It's more excitement."
Jones said he doesn't have any particular teams in mind that he hopes will draft him. He just wants to be drafted. When he does wind up on an NFL team, what he's looking forward to the most when he gets that first paycheck is buying a home for his family. He said he does not need anything else.
While he may not ask for much, Jones received a top-notch education at Cal, and he got to play in a pro-style offense under head coach Jeff Tedford. Playing in that NFL-friendly system gave Jones a bit of a leg-up on the competition at the NFL Combine and the Senior Bowl.
"When I went to the Senior Bowl, a lot of the plays and routes they wanted us to do I was already used to running because I ran them every day at Cal," Jones said. "Being a part of that offense for the past four years has really helped me understand things more quickly. A lot of it looked like stuff we ran at Cal."
In addition to the familiar playbook, the tutelage of head strength and conditioning coach Mike Blasquez played a big part in the strong performances Jones has accomplished. Jones credits Blasquez for helping him prepare for the NFL Combine and Pro Day. He said the training he did in front of the NFL scouts was difficult, but nothing like the training he received in Berkeley from Blasquez.
The past couple of days may have been the most difficult for Jones. The only thing left to do is wait until his name is called. Regardless of when or where he gets drafted, Jones has no regrets and feels like he has done everything he possibly could to put himself in the best position to get drafted as high as possible.
In short, this entire process has left him with a feeling of gratification.
"I went into the NFL Combine very underrated because people didn't know that much about me," Jones said. "I just went out there and did what I've always done - hit the numbers, look the part and perform well for the scouts - and I couldn't ask for anything more than that. I'm highly competitive, and I won't back down from anything. It was gratifying to know that I forced people to go back, look at the film, start liking me and familiarizing themselves with me and what I can do. I've stayed consistent throughout my whole career. Through the interviews and talking to teams, they see that I'm level-headed. Everything has come into place at the right time. I'm excited to see where I'll end up."
The team and the city that gets him will have plenty to be excited about, too.