OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) – Ole Miss senior defensive back Jaylon Jones has been named the winner of the 2020 Chucky Mullins Courage Award, as announced during a special team meeting on Thursday.
A native of Allen, Texas, Jones becomes the 30th recipient in the 31-year history of the award. Jones will wear Mullins’ No. 38 jersey throughout the 2020 season.
“Chucky (Mullins) means a lot to this program,” Jones said. “You can’t step on this campus without knowing who Chucky Mullins is.
“It’s an exciting honor because of how serious this award is and the legacy that Chucky left. Getting it back in a DB’s hands is just an honor.”
The award, sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, honors the late Chucky Mullins, who had his Ole Miss career come to an end during the 1989 Homecoming game against Vanderbilt when he was paralyzed after making a tackle. After returning to his studies at Ole Miss, Mullins passed away May 6, 1991.
Jones was selected from among several veteran defensive players by head coach Lane Kiffin and the Rebel coaching staff. The award is presented annually to an Ole Miss upperclassman defensive player that embodies the spirit of Mullins – courage, leadership, perseverance and determination.
“We had a lot of kids who could represent it, but Jaylon just stood out by the way he works, plus the adversity before we got here that he had been through with injuries,” Kiffin said.
A four-year letter winner for the Rebels, Jones has appeared in 35 career games during his time at Ole Miss, including 14 starts in the secondary. Jones, who earned first team Freshman All-America honors in 2016, has tallied 100 total tackles and 14 pass breakups during his career. He has also been a dangerous weapon on special teams, averaging over 26 yards per return on 34 attempts, including two touchdowns.
“I went through a lot of adversity since I’ve been here and I think that’s one thing we can relate to,” Jones said. “I definitely went by his motto, ‘Never quit’. I just kept striving to be a better player and person off the field.”
Former Chucky Mullins Courage Award recipients are Chris Mitchell, Jeff Carter, Trea Southerland, Johnny Dixon, Alundis Brice, Michael Lowery, Derek Jones, Nate Wayne, Gary Thigpen, Ronnie Heard, Anthony Magee, Kevin Thomas, Lanier Goethie, Jamil Northcutt, Eric Oliver, Kelvin Robinson, Patrick Willis, Jeremy Garrett, Jamarca Sanford, Marcus Tillman, Kentrell Lockett, Deterrian Shackelford (twice), Jason Jones, Mike Marry, Mike Hilton, John Youngblood, Marquis Haynes, C.J. Moore and Austrian Robinson.