CHS Alumnus Donnie Jones ’99 Soaring With The Eagles Into Super Bowl LII
On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles will play in their third Super Bowl in franchise history. They will do so with 14-year NFL veteran and Catholic High alumnus Donnie Jones ’99 as the team’s punter.
Jones was an All-Metro and All-State punter for the Bears under legendary coach Dale Weiner, but also on the All-State Academic team and an All-District at tight end for the CHS offense.
It was almost a foregone conclusion that the 6’3″ Jones would continue his punting career “down the street” after graduating from CHS, and “Thunderfoot” did not disappoint. Jones redshirted his first season for LSU before starting for four years and becoming a record setting punter for the Tigers. Jones was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll multiple times, and a Ray Guy Award semifinalist for his success on the field as well.
In his final season at LSU under Nick Saban, Jones would find himself in the national championship game against Oklahoma, a school that offered him a scholarship while he was in high school. Jones punted seven times in the game, but none more important than his final boot with nine seconds left to run the clock out in a 21-14 BCS championship win over the Sooners. His punt led him to author “Nine Seconds to a Championship” which focused on that final effort versus Oklahoma, but also about his career at LSU.
After LSU, Jones was selected in the 7th round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Jones rejoined his college coach, Nick Saban, in Miami for the 2005-2006 season before moving to a struggling franchise with the Rams in St. Louis. The team did not experience good fortune, but Jones broke a number of club records, along with becoming the first punter to average over 50-yards a punt since 1940. After five years with the Rams, Jones moved to the Houston Texans and his family moved to Baton Rouge, his childhood home. He has been with the Philadelphia Eagles since 2013 and holds several franchise records.
The Eagles will be attempting to win their first Super Bowl in three appearances. Jones, a lefty who shares that distinction with fellow punter Ryan Allen of New England, has adapted through the years. The man who achieved distinction as an Eagle Scout, came into the league as a “boom it and hang it” guy, but has become adept at dropping punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Jones completed the 2017 regular season in the top half of the NFL punting statistics in both gross and net yard punting averages.
The 2018 Grizzly Greats Athletic Hall of Fame inductee is forever grateful for his time at Catholic High and always carries his formation under the Brothers of the Sacred Heart with high esteem. Jones was recently quoted at Super Bowl Media Day saying, “Catholic High taught me so much – going from a teenager to a man. They have big plans for the school. I’ve been in touch with them recently and I would like to be a part of that.” Spoken like a true “Brothers’ Boy.”