Marcus Jones is the kind of transfer a coaching staff dreams about. Not only does he add talented experience at cornerback but he’s among college football’s best return men. This year, Jones has added to his repertoire and is returning punts. And through five games he has established himself as one of the elite punt return men in the last five years of college football.
Marcus Jones came to UH having been named 2017 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American by FWAA and ESPN for his kick return capabilities. He returned two kickoffs for a touchdown in a single game, tying an NCAA record, and returned another in that freshman season. He also returned one more as a sophomore and had a 100 yard INT return for TD as well.
While he returned some punts at Troy, he had not established himself as one of the best. As a UH redshirt last year, he worked against Dane Roy in practice to hone his skills. Dane said that he and made each other better every day.
Marcus Jones has returned punts in just five games this season but he’s already made quite a mark:
- Marcus Jones is averaging 21.64 yards per punt return. If the season ended today, his 2020 total would rank #1 in AAC history. And #1 Conference USA history. And #1 Southwest Conference history (since 1950).
- Assuming he finishes highest this year, his 21.64 average would be the highest in FBS since 2005.
- Jones is #1 in the country in total punt return yards in 2020.
- At 60.6 punt return yards per game, he is 25 yards a game higher than any player in at least the last eight years in FBS.
- In just 5 games played, Jones already has two of the top 12 punt return games in school history.
- Marcus’ 303 punt return yards are the 4th most in a season in UH history.
Punt Return Yards (Season)
- 303 punt return yards ranks him 15th in school history for a career. Just 65 more yards and he’ll jump to 7th in all-time.
- Marcus’ game against USF was the 5th most punt return yards in a game in school history. Since 1989, only Demarcus Ayers at Tulane in 2015 (175 yards) has had a better game for the Cougars.
- As of today, his punt return average for a season is 2nd most in school history (24.57 – Ken Stegall, 1955).
- For a career? Currently, Marcus Jones’ 21.6 yards is ahead of everyone in school history by over 3.5 yards per return.
- If the season ended today, his 2020 season would be 21st all-time in NCAA history in yards per punt return.
- In the last five seasons across all of FBS, only three players have had more punt return yards in a game than the 145 Jones had against USF.
- Jones’ games against USF and Tulane (108 yards) are the third and fourth most punt return yards in FBS this season.
- Jones has 12 returns of 10+ yards and six of 20+ yards.
- His USF game was the second-most punt return yards in AAC history (Ayers, 2015).
- With just 10 more return yards, Marcus will become the single-season punt return champion in the AAC.
- He is averaging 10 yards a return more than any player has in AAC history.
If not for losing three yards on his first return in the season opener, Jones would be 8th all-time in NCAA history in yards per punt return for a season.