LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Reakwon Jones' journey from Bay County to Bloomington and beyond involves faith, family, and football.
Reakwon Jones poses with his family on the field at Memorial Stadium.
"It's been a blessing just to be in this position," Jones says.
For as long as anyone can remember, football is what Reakwon has been best at. All-State at Mosley, his talent opened doors to leave his hometown of Lynn Haven 2015.
"It was always a part of my plan, doing everything I could to make Mosley varsity just to get some scholarships. We wanted to change how Bay County football was viewed and get some of our athletes out there into the college world."
From a high school force to be reckoned with...to a redshirt freshman and doubt.
"College is tough," Jones admits of the early years. "You're not really the guy. Everyone's the guy. You've got to figure out a new way to stand out. I faced my difficulties."
Over the next two years, the linebacker embraced the program and the program embraced him.
"I said, 'I want to to create change at this program. I want to create change for myself coming form these three years.' I was like, 'I have an opportunity to start my junior year and another opportunity to start my senior year. I''m going to put all I have into this. I just love the guys.'"
2018 was the breakout season. He made his first ten starts, recording 36 tackles. At the time his team needed him the most, in October, he needed his team the most.
"That's when life itself changed for me."
Hurricane Michael destroyed his family's home. Eight hundred miles away, the Hoosiers lived up to their team motto: "Love Each Other."
"They took me in, checked on me throughout the day constantly, making sure I'm alright, seeing what they could do for me, what they could do for my family. They donated money, did everything they could to help me and my family out. I was filled with so much shock and excitement. It brought tears to my mom's eyes."
Life goes on. Football goes on.
His senior year was his best. A touchdown the weekend of Michael's anniversary wound up the highlight of a season in which he finished second on the team with 55 tackles and played in the Gator Bowl four hours from his hometown in Jacksonville, part of IU's first eight win squad since 1993.
Next stop: Colorado, where he'll train for the draft. There were stops in between he never predicted, but the destination is one he'd had faith he'd reach.
"It's always been a dream of mine to go to the NFL. To be in the position, it's such a blessing."
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