SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Nate Jones, one of the most successful football players that Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School has ever produced, has now moved on to a different role on the gridiron: NFL official.
Jones, who graduated from SPFHS in 2000, worked as the field judge at the New York Jets home opener on Sunday, Sept. 8, at MetLife Stadium. The responsibilities of the position include ruling on plays near the sidelines usually behind the defensive secondary. A field judge typically makes rulings near the sideline on the actions of running backs, receivers and backfield defenders and makes calls on pass interference, illegal blocks, and incomplete passes. He is also responsible for counting the number of defensive players on the field. Jones started working as a football official in the Pac-12 Conference in 2013.
Jones played both running back and defensive back for the Raiders. In his senior year, he was a first-team All-state selection and the Offensive Player of the Year in Union County. During that season he ran for 2,474 yards and scored 33 rushing touchdowns. As a receiver, he had 10 receptions for 227 yards and 3 scores. During one North Jersey II Group III quarterfinal game, Jones rushed for 362 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also was a star on the defensive side of the line, he had 85 tackles, 6 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries.
Nate Jones played his collegiate football at Rutgers, where he was a defensive back and kick returner. In 2002, he was Big East co-Special Teams Player of the Year, Second-Team Academic All-American, and All-Big East. During the 2002 season, he had a pair of 100-yard kick-off returns with one coming against Syracuse and the other against Tennessee. In 2003, he was named Second-Team All-Big East.
Jones was one of eight Division I-A members named to College Football’s 2003 National Scholar-Athlete Class by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He graduated from Rutgers with a degree in finance.
Jones played for teams during an eight season NFL career: the Dallas Cowboys (2004–07), Miami Dolphins (2008–09), Denver Broncos (2010), Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots (2011). In his final season, he played in Super Bowl XLVI with the Patriots, who lost to the New York Giants.
In June 2012, at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School retired his No. 22 jersey in honor of his outstanding athletic and academic careers. It was the first football jersey retired by the school.
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