The sophomore wide receiver, who has four touchdown catches in Washington's first four games, continues to pile up acrobatic plays and show glimpses of his potential.
Nobody falls quite like Ty Jones.
On Saturday night, in Washington’s 27-20 win over Arizona State, Jones fell memorably. Athletically. Strategically. He did so many other things while falling, but bracing his body wasn’t one of them.
Let’s go through the list. With 57 seconds left in the first quarter inside Husky Stadium, Washington’s sophomore wide receiver lined up in the slot, shuffled his feet and broke to the outside. As senior quarterback Jake Browning released the ball, Jones flipped his hips and started frantically backpedaling.
When the ball fell, Jones fell with it. His feet left the ground, and all 209 pounds of Jones’ 6-foot-4 frame hung in the air, outstretched, vulnerable, parallel to the block “W” in the corner of the end zone.
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Oh, and one other thing happened: Jones caught the ball. He raised his hands above his head and snared it while simultaneously tumbling to the turf. Arizona State’s overmatched safety, fellow sophomore Langston Frederick, somersaulted over his body but came away with nothing but a cameo in a Husky highlight.
“There’s a lot of bright lights, so you’ve just got to find it,” Jones said, his face smeared with eye-black. “And once you lock onto it you can’t let go.”
Jones held on for his fourth touchdown in four games. He casually tossed the football to the referee, who let it fly by him as he lifted his arms to signal the score. The Provo, Utah, native skipped triumphantly down the sideline, smiling as his teammates shook his helmet like a magic eight-ball and a sell-out crowd of 71,200 gawked at replay after replay.
And really, why shouldn’t Jones smile? In the history of all-time falls, this ranked right behind Neo in “The Matrix,” bending backward to dodge bullets on a rooftop in New York City.
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of Jones’ catch is that it wasn’t at all surprising. After managing just seven catches for 71 yards in 2017, the sophomore has seemingly churned out astonishing acrobatics ever since. He does it in practice. He does it in games. He does it along the sideline and in the end zone, in Atlanta and Seattle and Utah alike.
Without the services of departed standout Dante Pettis, Jones does exactly what these Huskies need him to do.
“He’s made it over and over again,” UW offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said. “Physically, he put himself in position this summer to be one of those top premier guys. I think he’s doing some really good things out there.”
The next goal, of course, is to do more things, more often.
“Shoot, just helping in the run game as well and getting my routes all down,” Jones said, when asked where he needs to improve. “Honestly, it’s mastering the whole route tree and taking it day-by-day and getting better every day.”
Jones aside, the Washington offense did just enough on Saturday night. Browning — who set the school record for all-purpose yards in the process — completed 15 of 22 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns. Running backs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed combined for 157 yards and 5.1 yards per carry. Jones, Aaron Fuller and Cade Otton made touchdown catches.
For the wide receiver group, it was another positive step in a promising September.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Jones, who finished with two catches for 43 yards. “There were question marks around us before the season, but we all knew what we could do.”
Washington’s coaches and players certainly knew what Jones could do this summer. The rest of the world is just beginning to find out.
To secure another Pac-12 title, the Huskies need the sophomore wide receiver to keep rising (and falling).