words // Katie Nelson
images // Heidi Hammer
video // Sam Plucker
After leading Alabama to an undefeated 14-0 season during his sophomore year in 2009, winning the national title, being the 6th overall selection in the 2011 draft, and landing a Pro Bowl nomination, Atlanta’s Julio Jones takes his place among top athletes to grace the Eastbay cover.
“Growing up, you see all these athletes and people you look up to on the cover. Being on the cover is something you dream about.”
At Alabama, Jones played under the leadership of Nick Saban, who was once named “The Most Powerful Coach in Sports.” Under his leadership, Jones developed as a player and a professional athlete.
“Playing for Coach Saban at Alabama was a great experience for me. I loved it when I went there because he told me that ‘we will win with you or without you.’ That was one of the reasons that made me want to go there because I didn’t want anybody to give me anything. He made me work for everything I got. I really respect Coach Saban for doing that and not handing things to me, because I was the #1 receiver coming out. Hard work pays off. That’s what I learned from him. He made that transition for me from college to the NFL so much easier.”
Jones’ competitiveness and self-confidence coupled with his abilities and talent on the football field make him the powerhouse he is today. He refines his skills through continuous training to keep him at the top of his game.
“I prepare to win by eating healthy and doing a lot of stretching for flexibility, longevity, and to prevent injuries. My training is focused on being able to outlast my opponent; I work on my cardio and stamina, just to be able to outlast the guy across from me. It’s like a fight to me. If you beat me on one play, I’m just going to keep coming until you get tired.”
For more on Julio Jones, visit eastbay.com/JulioJones.