Former South Carolina State and National Football League standout David "Deacon" Jones has died, according to newspaper and other media accounts. Jones, who starred at SC State in the mid 50s, died of natural causes Monday at his Southern California home. He was 74.
Jones played two seasons – 1956 and 1957 -- at SC State before at going on to Mississippi Valley State (then Mississippi Vocational College). He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 14th round of the 1961 draft and went on the legendary fame as a member of the Rams' Fearsome Foursome.
During his standout career with the Rams, Jones earned the tag of "Secretary of Defense" and was credited with inventing the term "sack." The Eatonville, FL native played for the Rams from 1961 through 1971. He later played for the San Diego Chargers (1973-73) and ended his career with the Washington Redskins (1974). In 14 seasons in the NFL, he missed only six games. Jones, who was among five persons in the inaugural Class of the SC State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1983, was a teammate of retired SC State head football coach Willie Jeffries and Orangeburg native Alex "Bubbason" Gardner, both of whom are also Bulldog Hall of Famers.
Jones is one of three SC State greats enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the prestigious shrine in 1980, becoming the second Bulldog to join the NFL greats behind Marion Motley, who was inducted in 1968 after a stellar career with the Cleveland Browns. Former SC State All-America DL/LB Harry Carson joined the two in 2006. SC State remains the only Palmetto State college or university with Pro Football Hall of Famers.
Jones was also inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame (1980) and the Black College Football Hall of Fame (2010).
Details of funeral arrangements were not immediately available