Nashville --- Tennessee State announced, at last week’s press conference, that Tiger legend Ed “Too Tall” Jones would be the honoree of the 17th annual John Merritt Classic on Sept. 6, 2015 at Nissan Stadium.
Jones will be recognized during halftime of the TSU vs. Alabama State football game.
In 1970 Ed “Too Tall” Jones arrived on the TSU campus on a basketball scholarship. However, after Jones spent a couple of seasons playing on the team, legendary head football coach John Merritt convinced him to give up basketball to focus on football.
The move worked for Jones as he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the first overall pick in the 1974 draft. He also had staying power- setting the Cowboys record for games played with the franchise.
Tennessee State was not prepared for a football player of Jones’ size to suit up for the team, so Jones was given a uniform that didn’t quite fit. Much to the delight of his teammates, Jones ended up looking like a child who had outgrown his clothes. His appearance led teammates to call him “Too Tall” because he looked too tall to play football.
Jones left TSU as the school’s second leading sacker, having amassed 38 for his career. His collegiate performance got the attention of NFL teams from around the country, and the Cowboys did not hesitate to make Jones the highest player ever drafted from a HBCU.
Jones’s talents carried over into his professional career- he was named All-Pro three times and helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XII.
During his career, Jones tallied 106 sacks and 19 fumble recoveries.