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A Salute to the 2017 Seniors: Laurence “Hootie” Jones

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The Louisiana product stayed focused through unimaginable adversity to have a productive career.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Hootie Jones came to Alabama in the ballyhooed class of 2014, joining fellow Monroe, LA products Cam Robinson and Cam Sims. The only safety in the class, he was projected to be a future anchor in the Tide secondary along with classmates Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey. While he was able to earn some limited time right away, he required some seasoning before being ready for prime time.

After playing something of a bit role in his first two seasons, Jones became a key rotational player in the secondary over his final two campaigns. He was forced into a greater role when Eddie Jackson went down during the 2016 season and performed admirably down the stretch, including a solid four tackles and a pass breakup in his first career start vs. Texas A&M.

Hootie’s story is exceptional, however, not for the play on the field but the unimaginable adversity he faced during his career. His mother, Jessica Carr, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma shortly after Hootie had enrolled at Alabama. Transferring somewhere closer to home, particularly to nearby Louisiana-Monroe, had to cross his mind and no one could have resented such a choice. Jessica, however, had been instrumental in the decision to come to Alabama and would hear none of it. Her proudest moment came in August:

Jessica’s treatment schedule prevented her from attending any of the SEC games in Hootie’s final season, but she managed to make it out to senior day against Mercer. Fittingly, Jones made a nice interception near the sideline to give her something to cheer. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury against Auburn and will miss the playoffs. He leaves Alabama with a degree in hand and has a decent chance at hearing his name called late in April’s NFL Draft.

Roll Tide, Hootie.