A three-sport star in football, basketball and track, Jones will continue his academic and athletic career as a defensive back at Washington State.
There’s no doubt in his devotion or pause in his passion.
Football clearly comes first for D’Jimon Jones.
But basketball still pulls at his heartstrings. And the high jump has him enamored. So, in this ever-growing era of specialization among high-school athletes, Jones continued to diversify his talents during his final year at Federal Way.
Six other boys you should have seen
Emmanuel Daigbe, Kent-Meridian — One of the most athletic receivers in the state, Daigbe hauled in 54 receptions for 1,098 yards with 10 TDs this season to earn Star Times All-Area honors. A two-time All-SPSL NE All-Purpose Player of the Year who has signed with Central Washington University, he was perhaps even more impressive on the wrestling mat, where he went unbeaten for a second straight 4A state championship (195 this year, 182 as a junior). His 29-0 record as a senior included 24 pins.
Andrzej Hughes-Murray, Federal Way — After an outstanding summer camp at linebacker put him on the recruiting radar, Hughes-Murray lived up to high expectations during the prep season, leading the Eagles in tackles and tackles for loss. He was voted to the all-state team and signed with Oregon State. He then put together a sensational wrestling season, going 41-0 to capture the 4A state championship at 220 pounds. Hughes-Murray recorded three first-round pins at state before earning a 7-5 decision in the final.
Christian Jones, Federal Way — Baseball is clearly Jones’ forte as the outfielder was the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, has a scholarship to the University of Washington and was drafted last week by the Red Sox in the 31st round. He batted .446 with 23 RBI in leading the Eagles to the state playoffs. But the 6-2, 195-pound senior was also an integral part of the Federal Way basketball team that won a second straight 4A state title, stepping up with 18 points and 12 rebounds in the championship game.
Tyson Penn, Bellevue — The athletic Penn (6-4, 195) didn’t get a lot of opportunities as a receiver on the run-oriented Bellevue football team, but had a penchant for the end zone when he did and had a TD catch in the 3A state title game against Eastside Catholic of Sammamish. He is most accomplished in track and field. Although he failed to defend his title in the high jump (he was second at 6-8 after earlier going 7-1), he swept the long jump (meet-record 24-1¼) and triple jump (48-3¾).
Christian Rotter, Auburn Mountainview — Rotter is a rare three-sport athlete, in part because that third sport changed from his junior to senior years. After running track and field last year, he returned to soccer this spring and was named the SPSL 3A MVP and to the Star Times All-Area team. The Western Washington commit finished with 16 assists and six goals. In the fall, Rotter placed 33rd at the state cross-country meet. He was then part of the Lions’ boys basketball team that reached the top-16 for the first time in history.
Danny Sinatro, Skyline — It was a special year for Sinatro, who helped lead Skyline to 4A championship games in both football and baseball and earned an abundance of honors (including all-state defensive back). The Spartans fell short in football, despite Sinatro’s 9 catches for 80 yards, a TD and 6.5 tackles. But he keyed a 2-1 win in the baseball final with two hits and a pickoff at shortstop. Sinatro, who has signed to play baseball at WSU, was drafted by Cleveland in the 40th round last week.
He again excelled at all three, too, giving Jones the advantage in a tight competition for The Seattle Times’ Male Athlete of the Year.
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“D’Jimon is one of the best all-around athletes I have had the pleasure to coach,” football mentor John Meagher said. “He is simply a freakish athlete.”
Jones hopes to showcase that athleticism this fall in the WSU defensive backfield.
“They said I could come in and compete right away at cornerback,” he said.
Cougar coach Mike Leach considers him a top recruit.
“D’Jimon is a great athlete and a winner,” he said. “His is a competitive example for everyone around him. We are proud to have him as a Coug.”
“I don’t like to lose,” Jones admits.
Which made the 2015 football season especially hard for him to stomach as the quarterback of a team hoping to return to the 4A state playoffs. He threw for 367 yards and five touchdowns in the Eagles’ first two games, and also had a rushing TD, but broke a bone in his right ankle in that second outing.
Jones (6-2, 185) missed the next five games, but made a hasty return in hopes of leading a late playoff run. Instead, the Eagles lost two key contests, including a playoff qualifier against Tahoma of Maple Valley.
That only lit a fire in him during the basketball season as Federal Way fought to defend that state title.
“I wanted to show everyone I could still jump and I could still run and I could still defend, that I still had that athleticism,” Jones said.
He did just that, averaging 11 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals to earn All-SPSL Northwest first-team honors, ultimately helping the Eagles capture a second straight state championship.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” basketball coach Jerome Collins said, “but I think his best attribute is that he’s a competitor and he just competes. ”
Track and field coach Chris Williams calls Jones “one of the best athletes to ever walk through Federal Way High School,” and said he is at his best when the stakes are the highest.
“He is the type of competitor who always rises to the challenge,” Williams said.
Jones didn’t try the high jump until his junior year and cleared 6 feet 9 in his first meet. He seemed destined for 7-foot territory, but never cleared 6-10 and placed second at state both as a junior and senior with jumps of 6-8. His points helped the Eagles win this year’s team title.
Now Jones is ready to focus solely on football, although he admits he’ll especially miss basketball. That sport has always been a close second, but nothing quite compares to football.
“I just love that feeling and sound when you hit somebody,” he said.
And as an all-around athlete, D’Jimon Jones is simply a knockout.