Sep 042003
Authors: Steve Latuda

File under: sports/football

Landon Jones, the starting free safety for the Rams last week against the CU Buffs, quit the team on Monday.

The junior from Littleton was on the bad end of a lot of the criticism following the 42-35 loss to the Buffs at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, where first year starting quarterback Joel Klatt threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns against the Rams Saturday.

Jones’ starting position was up for grabs at the beginning of this week, but that was not the reason for him quitting.

“He just wasn’t feeling good about things,” head coach Sonny Lubick said. “It’s too bad.”

With Jones leaving the team, starting strong safety Benny Mastropaolo will move back to free safety where he played in two seasons at Fullerton Junior College in California before coming to the Rams last season, and sophomore Adam Hayward and redshirt freshman Lukas Davis will compete for the opening at strong safety. Both Hayward and Davis had solid practices on Thursday and are neck and neck for the starting job.

“Both kids are having a great week,” first year defensive backs coach James Ward said. “Both are full of energy and having fun.” No starter has been named yet.

According to coach Ward, Jones was having issues even before the season started.

“We thought he worked through it,” Ward remarked, “he just relapsed. I support him. He is a good person, unfortunately Landon and I haven’t talked personally.”

Jones started the first five games of the 2002 season and appeared in all but one game total. He accumulated 41 tackles, forced one fumble and recovered one fumble. That recovery came in the Rams’ 19-13 victory against the University of Colorado last season. He totaled a career best six tackles two times last year, his first time coming in his first start against Virginia.

In his redshirt freshman year Jones played mainly special teams, and appeared in six games as a defensive back.

Jones also represented CSU at the NCAA Leadership Conference and was named to the Mountain West Conference all-Academic team with a 3.22 grade point average in business marketing.

No word has been given yet on whether or not Landon will keep his scholarship.

Note: At the discretion of their coaches, CSU players were not permitted to comment on Jones’ departure.

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