TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State junior linebacker Christian Jones spent the last two weeks deliberating his playing future with friends and family. On Monday afternoon, he announced the result of those discussions.
He's coming back to FSU for one more year.
"After a lot of conversations and time thinking about it, I've decided to return to Florida State for my senior season," Jones said in a news release. "A lot of guys the past couple of years have helped to turn the program around, and I want to continue to be a part of that process."
The Seminoles went 12-2 this past season. After posting a 10-win and nine-win season during Jones' first two years in Tallahassee, the Seminoles' most recent campaign culminated in an ACC championship and Orange Bowl victory.
"I've always talked with some of the guys I came in with and we've always talked about finishing together and that's also something I wanted to do," said Jones, a Winter Park native. "This is the best decision for me and my family. I'm looking forward to coming back, working hard, improving my game, but also helping Florida State continue with the success we've had."
One of FSU's prized class of 2010 recruits, Jones was one of the young players coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff attempted to build the program around when Fisher became head coach that same year. Along with Jones, Fisher believed linebacker Jeff Luc and safety Lamarcus Joyner would be key to the Seminoles' hopeful turnaround.
Luc transferred after last season. Joyner announced nearly two weeks ago that he was coming back to FSU for his senior year.
Jones was the Seminoles' leading tackler in 2012 with 95. He ranked 20th in the ACC with 6.9 tackles per game and was seventh in the conference in total tackles. FSU's lone defensive score of the season came at USF when Jones scooped fumble deep in Bulls territory and returned it for a touchdown.
While Jones and Joyner are returning, the Seminoles will be without fourth-year junior Xavier Rhodes, who announced earlier this month that he was leaving early for the NFL Draft. Rhodes is expected to be drafted within the first two rounds. Defensive ends Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins also were eligible for another year. They chose to leave early, as well.
Werner could be selected among the draft's top 10 picks.
Jones was a potential second-day selection in the draft.
Along with the return of Jones and Joyner, the Seminoles will be welcoming three new defensive coaches to the fold next fall. One of them, Charles Kelly, has been tasked with coaching the team's linebackers. Kelly was hired late last week, coming to FSU after spending the last six seasons at Georgia Tech coaching defensive backs and special teams.
"[Jones'] decision shows great commitment to FSU and great commitment to his future," Fisher said. "We're fortunate to have the leadership he brings on and off the field."