Perhaps no athlete has faced such a daunting task as Mac Jones, who earned the right to follow the legendary Tom Brady as starting quarterback of the New England Patriots.
Jones earned NFL All-Rookie team honors two seasons ago, but he is still learning his way around the league.
Here are eight things to know about the New England gunslinger.
1. Jones was once a child actor
Jones is used to a career in the bright lights. As a child, fe found work as an actor in several commercials, and was even a model.
The commercials are tough to find nowadays, but the pictures are still out there:
— Dakota Randall (@DakRandall) November 15, 2021
2. Where is Mac Jones from?
Michael McCorkle Jones was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida.
He played high school football at The Bolles School, and led the team to a state 4A title in his senior season.
In that championship season, Jones threw for 1,532 yards and 29 touchdowns.
3. Holds Alabama school record for longest TD pass
In 2020 during his junior year at Alabama, Jones set a school record with a 94-yard touchdown strike to WR Jaylen Waddle.
The pass took place against Texas A&M at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, and is the longest touchdown pass in Alabama football history.
Nowadays, both Jones and Waddle are playing in the NFL. They even play in the same division, as Jones is on the Patriots and Waddle is on the Dolphins.
4. The Joker of Tuscaloosa
While on the campus at University of Alabama, Jones was definitely a star. He led the Crimson Tide to a national title in 2021 during his junior year.
He showed off his amazing drop back passing skills, as well as stellar leadership, but he was not overly serious. His teammates nicknamed Mac “The Joker” because of his wide smiling laugh and role as a fun-loving prankster in the locker room.
Jones was serious between the hash marks, but loved to mess with his teammates in Tuscaloosa. His character and sense of humor were appreciated by head coach Nick Saban, who admired how Jones could be joking around with the guys but also command respect as a leader.
5. Rare first round QB pick by Patriots
Jones was selected with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
He became only the second quarterback drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round. The other was franchise icon Drew Bledsoe, who was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 1993.
6. Replaced a legend, set a record
How do you replace a legend? Especially the GOAT?
Jones did his best, and then some. In his rookie season, Jones set a first-year record with a 67.6% completion percentage en route to being named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team. On the year, Jones threw for 3,801 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
In his first career Sunday Night Football game, Jones faced Brady and the Buccaneers. Though the Pats lost, Jones set a rookie NFL mark by completing 19 consecutive passes.
7. From a family of athletes
Jones isn’t the only one in his family who excelled at collegiate athletics. His father played tennis at Florida State, and even competed at Wimbledon qualifiers in the late 1970s.
Two more family members, Mac’s brother Will and sister Sarah, played soccer at Mercer University and tennis at the College of Charleston, respectively.
8. Happier feet than Brady
In his first two NFL seasons, Jones has rushed for 231 yards in the span of 31 games.
That’s hardly Randall Cunningham-type numbers, but it’s more rushing yards than Brady recorded in his last five season as New England’s QB.
Jones has one rushing touchdown to his name, while Brady rushed for 28 touchdowns in his career.