Julio Jones is an American football wide receiver who plays for the Atlanta Falcons in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons sixth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. Before that, he had a successful college football career at Alabama during which he was named 'SEC Freshman of the Year', 'Second-team All-SEC', and 'First-team All-SEC', and also led his team to the SEC Western Division Championship win with an undefeated 14–0 record. Throughout his seven seasons with the Falcons so far, he has been invited to Pro Bowls five times and was selected first-team All-Pro twice. He also led his team to the playoffs once, but lost the 'Super Bowl LI' to the New England Patriots. He has ranked eighth and third on the NFL Top 100 Players list, in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Childhood & Early Life
Julio Jones was born as Quintorris Lopez Jones on February 8, 1989 in Foley, Alabama and was raised by his single mother, Queen Marvin, who worked at a fast food restaurant. His father left the family when he was only five.
His mother was strict about keeping him shielded from the violent neighborhood he grew up in. He is very close to his elder brother, Phillip, who lost his arm after sustaining gunshot wounds in 2014.
He attended Foley High School in Alabama, where he played wide receiver and defensive end for the Lions high school football team, recording 16 touchdowns as a junior with 75 passes caught for 1,306 yards. He participated in the High School Under Armour All-America Game, and as a five-star recruit, announced his decision to join the Alabama Crimson Tide live on ESPNU on National Signing Day.
He was a starter on the basketball team and was a standout track athlete who was named the 2006-07 'Gatorade T&F Athlete of the Year' in the state. He was the state champion in the long jump and triple jump in both 2006 and 2007, and in high jump in 2007.
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Julio Jones became the first true freshman wide receiver to start in a season opener for the Crimson Tide against the Clemson Tigers in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff on August 30, 2008. By the end of the year, with his breakout performance, he earned the 'SEC Freshman of the Year' honor and was named to the second team All-SEC and the 'SEC Coaches' All-Freshman Team'.
Before the 2009 season started, he became one of only four players to be voted unanimously to the 'All-SEC Coaches' Football Team' (first team). After experiencing "sophomore slump" in the first half of the season, he led his previously underperforming team to 12-0 wins to the SEC Western Championship, but lost the SEC championship game and the Sugar Bowl.
He started his junior season with back-to-back solid performances, and ended the season with 78 catches and 1,133 yards along with seven touchdowns, becoming the fourth in Alabama history to achieve the record. He was named to the first-team All-SEC in 2010, and finished his three-year college career as the second player in Alabama history in receptions (179) and yards (2,653) and fourth in touchdown catches (15).
In January 2011, Julio Jones decided to forego his senior year at college to declare for the NFL Draft and showcased excellent performance at the 2011 NFL Combine in February despite a broken bone. The Atlanta Falcons traded five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up in the draft in order to select him as the 6th pick in the first round.
He signed a four-year contract with the Falcons on July 28, 2011 and made his professional debut in a losing game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11. Despite a slow start, he finished the season leading all rookies in touchdown receptions and second among rookies in yards and touchdowns, and made his playoff debut in a loss to the New York Giants.
He began the 2012 season with exceptional performances and helped his team earn the top seed in the NFC for the NFL playoffs with a 13-3 record, but lost the championship to San Francisco 49ers. He finished the season with 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns, which earned him nomination for the Pro Bowl for the first time.
He again started the following season with a streak of solid performances against New Orleans, St. Louis, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Jets. In the fifth match, he fractured his foot and was forced out for the entire season, but still managed to finish 76th in receiving yards among 458 qualified players.
On November 30, 2014, he achieved a career high with 189 receiving yards on 10 receptions against Arizona Cardinals, and surpassed it the following week with 259 yards on 11 receptions against Green Bay Packers. His season record of 104 receptions for 1,593 yards was the first in the NFC in both categories and the third in the entire NFL.
On August 29, 2015, he extended his contract with the Falcons for five more years and achieved a career-high 13 receptions for 135 yards against the Giants in the second week of the season. He finished the historic 2015 season as the eighth best player on the 'NFL Top 100 Players' list with 1,871 yards and 136 receptions – both Falcons franchise records and the second-highest in NFL history.
In the game against Carolina Panthers on October 2, 2016, he became the sixth NFL player to record 300 receiving yards, and along with Matt Ryan, also became the first quarterback/wide receiver duo to gain 500+ passing yards. He finished the season with 83 receptions on 129 targets for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns, and ranked third on the 'NFL Top 100 Players of 2017' as the top wide receiver.
While his team made it to the playoffs as the No.2 seed, he was selected for the Pro Bowl team for the fourth time and was named 'First-team All-Pro' for the second consecutive year. He made his first Super Bowl appearance against the New England Patriots, which they lost in overtime by a score of 34–28 despite his spectacular catch when the team was leading at 28–20.
He recorded his first receiving touchdown of the 2017 season in a Super Bowl LI rematch against the New England Patriots, which they lost. He was named 'NFC Offensive Player of the Week' during week 12 following his incredible performance of 12 receptions for 253 receiving yards and two touchdowns, which also earned him his fifth Pro Bowl selection.
Awards & Achievements
During his college career, Julio Jones was named 'SEC Freshman of the Year' in 2008 and was 'Second-team All-SEC' that year. He was named 'First-team All-SEC' in 2010.
He has been named to the Pro Bowl team five times since 2012, missing only once in 2013. He has also been named First-team All-Pro in 2015 and 2016.
Julio Jones' mother had named him ‘Quintorris’ because she was expecting a girl. She later started to call him ‘Julio’, when he was in the seventh grade.