Athletes Beyond Bartow: Jones, MWC begin conference slate
As play begins for the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences that reversed course after originally canceling their seasons, a former Woodland standout is finally getting to compete his senior year.
Manny Jones, who went by Emmanuel during his days with the Wildcats, got to start his season this past week for Colorado State. The Mountain West Conference actually returned to play the previous week, but as fate would have it, the Rams’ original season opener was canceled.
Playing Thursday, Colorado State struggled to a 38-17 loss against Fresno State, but Jones picked up where he left off last year. The senior linebacker, who garnered all-MWC honorable-mention status in 2019, recorded three tackles, with one of them occurring behind the line of scrimmage.
The Rams have six games remaining on their regular-season schedule. Next up, CSU will host Wyoming, and Jones will look to continue making the most out of his opportunity.
Elsewhere, the biggest news concerning a former Bartow County athlete involves one who didn’t get to play this week. Trevor Lawrence, a Cartersville High star turned household name, tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday.
Lawrence, who is looking to lead top-ranked Clemson to a yet another berth in the College Football Playoff, missed Saturday’s comeback win over Boston College. The junior will also be unavailable for this coming week’s massive showdown at No. 4 Notre Dame.
The hope for the Tigers is that Lawrence will be able to return Nov. 21 at Florida State. (Clemson has an open date following the Notre Dame game.) Even if Clemson slips up in South Bend, a healthy Lawrence down the stretch likely would still be enough to get the Tigers into the playoffs, barring any other defeats along the way.
Vic Beasley Jr. (Tennessee Titans, Adairsville) — The former Atlanta Falcons edge rusher didn’t record any stats in Sunday’s 31-20 loss to Cincinnati. However, Beasley did see a season-high 38 snaps (52%), marking his first time over 50% this year. Beasley and the Titans will hope to see increased production in the box score this week, when Tennessee hosts Chicago.
Jonathan Cruz (Charlotte Jr., Cartersville) — Cruz and Co. didn’t particularly enjoy their matchup with ACC foe Duke, as the Blue Devils cruised to a 53-19 victory Saturday in Durham, North Carolina. Cruz missed his only field gaol try — a 45-yard attempt — but converted his lone extra point in the lopsided defeat. The 49ers (2-3, 2-1 Conference USA) will hope to rebound when they return to league action this Saturday at Middle Tennessee State.
Miller Forristall (Alabama R-Sr., Cartersville) — Forristall recorded one reception for 14 yards, maintaining his per catch average, in a 41-0 romp past Mississippi State this week. For the season, Forristall has hauled in 10 passes for 141 yards. No. 2 Alabama (6-0) will take a week off before facing the defending national champs, LSU, Nov. 14 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
JaCorey Johns (Wake Forest R-So., Cartersville) — Johns made just one stop in Saturday’s game, but Wake Forest rolled to a 38-14 win against Syracuse on the road. The Demon Deacons (4-2, 3-2 ACC) are off this week. Wake will return to action against North Carolina Nov. 14 in Chapel Hill.
Manny Jones (Colorado State Sr., Woodland) — Playing in the season opener for the Rams, Jones managed to post three tackles, including one for loss, Thursday at Fresno State. Colorado State, though, came up on the short end of a 38-17 final score. CSU will host Wyoming this Thursday in Fort Collins.
Avery Showell (Georgia Tech R-Jr., Cartersville) — Showell finished with two solo tackles in Georgia Tech’s 31-13 home defeat Saturday to Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets (2-5, 2-4 ACC) will have an open date ahead of a conference clash with Pittsburgh Nov. 14 in Atlanta.
Report contributed by Nicholas Sullivan -- The Daily Tribune News