Jones could be top back taken in draft

Updated: December 3, 2003, 2:16 PM ET
Associated Press

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones will leave school a year early and enter the NFL draft.

"It is time for me to take the next step in my life, and that step is the NFL," Jones said Wednesday with tears in his eyes.

The 6-foot, 221-pound junior from Chester, Pa., was touted as the nation's top high school tailback and now could be the top running back in the draft. Jones rushed for a school-record 1,494 yards this season, averaging 5.6 yards for 265 carries and scoring 20 touchdowns.

"I personally feel he's the best back ever to play for Virginia Tech," running backs coach Billy Hite said.

Jones also rushed for at least 100 yards a school-record eight times in a nine-game span for the Hokies (8-4) this season and had a record 241 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-28 loss at Pittsburgh.

In three years with the Hokies, Jones ran for a 3,322 yards and 34 touchdowns. As a backup, he rushed for 957 yards as a freshman and 871 yards during a sophomore year while sharing time with Lee Suggs and missing almost two full games with a hamstring injury.

Jones will play his last college game in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 26 in Phoenix against California.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press