In reality, a player like Colquitt County’s Britt Jones has no chance of being named to an all-region team.
In the All-Region 1-AAAAAA team selected by the league’s coaches and released last month, there was a Special Teams Player of the Year honored, but, as expected Camden County’s Georgia-bound J.J. Green, an outstanding kick returner, got the award.
Some all-star teams recognize return specialists, but not the guys who do one of the most difficult jobs in football: bending over and snapping the football seven or 14 yards between their legs with precision and speed with a defensive player preparing to slam into him.
Snappers are usually overlooked. Or at least until they sail one past the holder’s outstretched hands or over punter’s head.
But Jones has never done that.
Not once in three seasons. And according to Colquitt County coach Rush Propst, Jones never even came close to making an errant snap. And Propst has had several who went on to snap at the collegiate level.
“In my 32 years of coaching, I don’t remember a snapper more consistent than Britt Jones,” Prospt said Monday by phone while making his way to his seat to watch the Alabama-Notre Dame National Championship game.
“He should have been a first-team All-Region selection.”
Jones has heard from three college football recruiters, but might decide to walk on at Georgia Southern where brother Carter Jones was an outstanding snapper.
Still, he is looking forward to participating in Saturday’s Florida-Georgia War of the Border All-Star game, scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. at Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children. Members of the eighth-grade all-star team will be admitted free if they are wearing their all-star T-shirts.
The game features top senior players from the Tallahassee and north Florida area against a group of Southwest Georgia all-stars.
The game allows the players another opportunity to impress college recruiters.
Jones should have little to prove, despite being smaller than many larger schools would like.
“He’s not as big or strong or as athletic as the ones we’ll see tonight (in the National Championship game),” Propst said. “But believe me, he is just as accurate. And he’s been doing it his whole career.
“His value is very high. He could go anywhere.”
Propst said Jones got his snaps back to punter Tyler Yost in a 0.6-0.7 seconds.
Yost also was on the receiving end on Jones’s snaps for extra point and field goal attempts. Those got to his hands in about 0.27 seconds, Propst said.
“And he’s always been right on the money,” Propst said. “And those are pressure situations. But he works at it every day.”
And getting the ball back quickly and accurately is only part of the snapper’s duty.
Jones also has had to know all the protection calls and often has to relay them.
He also has to hold a block until the kick is away and when his team is punting, he has to sprint downfield and get himself in a position to make a tackle.
It’s a lot of work and responsibility for someone whose name and avocation might not be unfamiliar to a casual fan.
But for his part, Jones said he was excited to have one more chance to do something he enjoys doing and has done exceedingly well since he was in seventh grade.
“I love it,” he said on Monday before suiting up for the Georgia team’s first practice.
Jones said he has heard from the University of the South, Mercer University and Charleston Southern about the possibility of taking his considerable skills to their football programs.
“Those are the three main ones, but I’ve also thought about walking on at Georgia Southern,” he said, adding he’d welcome the opportunity to continue doing what he does best in Statesboro.
“I’d love to keep doing it, especially if it helps pay for school and keeps me focused,” he said.
Walking on was the route older brother Carter took, snapping for the Eagles before using up his eligibility in the 2011 season. Carter Jones also was a fine snapper for the Packers before graduating after the 2006 season.
“I think he’d like to go back and watch his little brother play,” Britt Jones said.
ALL-STAR NOTES: Colquitt County senior linebacker John Gray is a member of the Georgia team, although his name was left off the original roster. ... Packers quarterback Cole Segraves, who was named to the Georgia team, has decided not to participate, Packers assistant Jeff Hammond said.
Joining Hammond, who is the offensive coordinator, on the Georgia staff are Colquitt County assistants Joey Bennett, John Cooper, Danny Blaylock, Marcus Windham and Earl Jefferson.
The head coach of the Georgia team is Richie Marsh of Thomasville.