ifollosports.com's interview with NFL Star Maurice Jones-Drew

Maurice Jones-Drew and GatoradeAs the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare for the 2010 season, without question the face of the franchise is that of All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew.  Amid the intense heat and humidity of the North Florida summer, no player's star shines brighter among the assembled group of talent toiling their way through training camp on the grounds of the newly named EverBank Field.

During his four NFL seasons, Jones-Drew has averaged a whopping 13.5 touchdowns per campaign.  This production has well outpaced the numbers of Pac-10 rivals Reggie Bush and LenDale White.  The USC backs were chosen with picks two and 45 in the 2006 draft, while Jones-Drew, the San Francisco Bay Area native and former UCLA standout, fell all the way to pick number 60.  

Earlier this summer, the California native was back in Pac-10 country, appearing at Dick's Sporting Goods in El Segundo, located just south of Los Angeles International Airport.  The appearance was in conjunction with Gatorade's G Series Pro “Signing Day” event.  Jones-Drew shook hands, signed autographs and posed for photos with 350 football fans on a sunny Southern California day.

Jones-Drew also took a few moments to speak with iFollo Sports about his training regimen, connecting with fans and the Jags' prospects for the upcoming season.

Jones-Drew is well known for his tireless work ethic. The 5-7, 208 pounder strongly feels that a proper mindset is the key to sustained success on the athletic field.

“It's really all mental. If you love the game and want to be the best at it, that's what's going to drive you.  A lot of people have different motivations.  Money might be one deal, making it to the NFL might be one deal; my thing was to be the best player I could and have fun doing it. That's kind of what drove me to do the extra work, run the extra hills, work harder and do everything it takes to make sure my body is healthy. You can lift weights, run hills, condition, but you have to be able to do that every day,” explained Jones-Drew.

Jones-Drew credits a former teammate with providing outstanding advice regarding the type of preparation involved with increasing both productivity and endurance. In 2009, Jones-Drew ran the ball 115 more times than in '08.  Jones-Drew's enhanced workload resulted in a career high of 16 total touchdowns (15 rushing, one receiving).

“Fred Taylor told me a great thing.  When he was a backup, his first two years, he trained a certain way and when he became a starter, he tried to switch it up and then he started getting injuries. Your body is kind of stuck in a routine, so when you're doing certain things, you don't want to switch it up because you'll throw your body off,” said Jones-Drew.  

Jones-Drew is a huge proponent of the Gatorade G Series of products, the latest addition to the massive sports drink market. He believes that Gatorade Prime 01, Perform 02 and Recover 03 have added even greater efficiency and effectiveness to his workouts.

 ”I ran without taking the whole G-Series deal and I did OK.  Once I took it, I was able to recover and fuel myself up with the Prime and the whole recovery during the end was just great.  For young guys it helps to give your body a chance to recover quickly, so you can work out more vigorously and more times a day.  It gives you a chance to have an edge on your opponent,” explained Jones-Drew.

When Jones-Drew is not running sprints or lifting weights, he enjoys interacting with his many fans in Jacksonville and throughout the country.  Jones-Drew organizes football camps for kids, participates in autograph signings and is heavily involved with social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook. He believes that these practices are an important aspect of an athlete's job description.

“It gives the fans the chance to see what our lives are like.  A lot people don't know how much we travel and what we try and do out in the community.  I think Twitter, along with Facebook and a lot of those sites are great for you to get your community work out there,” said Jones-Drew.

He later referenced a specific example of how social networking has impacted his efforts within the Jacksonville community.  

“Last year, I had a camp. 50 kids came because some didn't think it was free. This year, we had 350 sign ups. It's another way to get it out there, for people to sign up and enjoy it.”

Last season, the Jags finished last in the AFC South with a 7-9 record.  Jones-Drew and quarterback David Garrard will be instrumental in a potential Jaguar resurgence under head coach Jack Del Rio. Jones-Drew is optimistic regarding his team's prospects for 2010.

“I think it's going to be a great year.  Hopefully, we make the playoffs and make a run at it.  The playoffs should definitely be in our grasp,” boasted Jones-Drew. 

Below are video and still photos from Jones-Drew's appearance in El Segundo.