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Jones inspires local students


Wide receiver Jacoby Jones grew up in New Orleans' Ninth Ward, a rough neighborhood that drew national attention when it was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Jones, who was raised by his mother and grandmother, describes the area as one of the most violent in the nation.

As a student at Marion Abramson High School, Jones saw many of his peers get off track because of drugs or gang-related activity. But he was able to stay on course, largely because of football.

The fleet-footed receiver showed exceptional promise at an early age and dreamed of playing in college, but many college coaches told him he was too small to play at a Division I program.

"In high school, they said I was too small to do what I can do," Jones said. "I proved them wrong. It's about all about standing your ground."

{QUOTE}Jones attended Division II Lane College, where he holds the school career record with 1,937 yards and four touchdowns on kickoff returns. In 2007, he was drafted by the Texans in the third round.

Jones' story shows the importance of working hard and staying in school. It's a story that he shared with the students of Eisenhower High School in Aldine.

"I just basically told them my story of how I got here and where I'm at – instead of making it a dream, making it a goal," Jones said. "And staying in school is one of the positive things that can help you in life.

"I told them, 'It doesn't matter what school you go to.' I walked on to a Division II school, which is a small school. It's all about being determined to get where you need to be in life."

It's a message that many of the teens had heard a hundred times, but it rang true coming from a professional athlete like Jones.

"I talked to them about the importance of being a student athlete because once it's all over, you've got to have something to fall back on," Jones said. "I told them I went to school to get my degree. If you want to make it to the next level, you've still got to work had at what you do."

Jones told the students that sports can teach many valuable life lessons, but there many professions that they can succeed in outside of sports.

"I made it a goal that I am going to work hard, and I worked hard," Jones said. "And you can apply that to life by working hard in school, and you can go get your degree. You can go be a doctor, a lawyer or whatever you want to be. Who knows, you could be the next Barak (Obama)."

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