KILLEEN, Texas - Jaylon Jones is entering his junior year on the Texas A&M Aggies football team. He's a two-year starter, and he’s also a self-described “military brat,” who grew up in Cibolo, Texas, northeast of San Antonio.
Yet it was deep in the heart of Central Texas, outside Fort Hood, that Jaylon decided to hold his first football camp.
“Because it’s the largest military base in the U.S.,” he said. “You know, being a military brat traveling around, things like that, I just wanted to give back to the military kids, really all the kids coming out to this camp … (and) show love to the community.”
At Lions Club Park here, May 14, Jaylon and his family joined with the Texas Amateur Athletic Union Youth Football League and a number of sponsors to host the J7 Skills Camp, where youth ages 7-14 were shown techniques and drills to play the game of football. Organizers said approximately 150 youth took part in the four-hour skills camp.
“We know that it’s easy for a lot of players to give back in the big city, but we wanted to come to Killeen … like Jaylon mentioned, it (Fort Hood) being the largest active-duty military base,” his mother, Alishia, added. “We wanted to give back to a community that sacrifices so much.”
The Jones family’s military ties are unbreakable. Jaylon’s father, Virgil, is a retired Navy chief petty officer first class, while mom is a Navy veteran herself, and continues to serve as a business analyst with the U.S. Army Installation Command at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Before the youth were broken up into age groups and hit the practice fields, Jaylon and his parents joined with Rod Tanner of the Texas AAU Youth Football League to present Kobe Burgess, a senior from Shoemaker High School here, a $1,000 scholarship from the league. Burgess is set to attend West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, this fall.
Tanner said he chose Jaylon to present Burgess his oversized check, as he was the first recipient of the league’s scholarship.
Jaylon was an immediate starter as a true freshman for head coach Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies in the COVID 19-shortened 2020 season. Last season, he was second on the team with eight passes defended, including two interceptions. In the Aggies upset of the then-number one-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide last season, Jaylon made five tackles.
Mom, of course, is very proud.
“Oh, I’m very proud and I’m happy with all the work that he’s put in and the sacrifices he’s made,” Alishia said, “… because he had to work on his craft and couldn’t hang out as much as he wanted to, but I’m sure he’s reaping the benefits now.”
Jaylon said he had one simple message for the youth campers.
“Anything is possible and your biggest dreams can come true,” he said. “All you gotta do is put in hard work.”
For more information about the Texas AAU Youth Football League, go to www.txaauyfl.com.