Starkville coach Chris Jones will represent Mississippi in the biggest high school football game of the upcoming season.

Jones was selected to coach in January’s 2020 Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando.

The third-year coach at Starkville has proven himself as one of the top coaches in the state and has accumulated a 24-5 record at Starkville with a state championship appearance.

Before Starkville, Jones was head coach at Kemper County for four seasons and left with a 45-12 record and the 2016 MHSAA Class 3A state championship.

“To me, it’s an honor to be picked to coach among the best coaches and the best players in the world,” Jones said. “I’m just going to get around other coaches and try to soak in as much as I can like a sponge and continue to get better and enjoy the whole moment.”

Jones was first contacted a few weeks ago and was told he was a candidate for a coaching position. On Monday, Jones received another phone call asking if he was wanted the position.

It was a no-brainer for him.

“It’s a huge accomplishment and it speaks volumes to the recognition of the notoriety we get at Starkville as a program,” Jones said. “It’s a big thing for us to be on the platform and be recognized among the best in the nation. It’s a blessing.”

He wasn’t told what position group he will coach in the game, and frankly, he doesn’t care which it is.

“I’ll go out there and be the ball boy. Just the opportunity to be there is big,” Jones said.

In last year’s All-America game, 10 Mississippi players were selected on the roster, including Lafayette’s Brandon Turnage, who is now at Alabama.

In the game, eventual Ole Miss signee Jerrion Ealy (Jackson Prep) earned MVP honors and set an Under Armour All-America Game record after rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns on only 14 carries.

“There’s so much talent in the state that people don’t know about,” Jones said. “In order for that to change, it’s stuff like this that puts us out there and gives kids an opportunity to do well. It’s a blessing to take advantage of the big moment.”

dalton.middleton@journalinc.com Twitter: @DLMiddleton8

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