The two sides of UH football superstar Marcus Jones

Jones is just as versatile when making music as he is playing football

University of Houston star football player Marcus Jones has more than just NFL dreams. He also has big-time musical aspirations.

HOUSTON – He’s Marcus Jones on the football field, but he’s Elliott J when making music.

“You know Marcus Jones, he plays football, Elliott J is the artist that’s real vulnerable,” Jones explained. “I feel like they have to be a little different because you can’t be too vulnerable on the football field.”

No one would mistake Jones for being vulnerable on the field. He’s currently the most versatile player in college football: a cornerback, return specialist, and receiver. This past week, calls for Jones to be included in the Heisman conversation ramped up after yet another incredible performance. Jones has racked up five interceptions, two kickoff return touchdowns, and two punt return touchdowns in the past four games.

“It was funny, when he made that one-handed interception, the offense was in the huddle getting ready to go on the field,” said his quarterback, Clayton Tune. “I looked at Christian Trahan and I go, ‘That was like a Madden animation.’ I mean, it just looked like it was straight out of a video game. He makes plays like that every game.”

Jones, a.k.a. Elliott J, is just as versatile when he’s making music. He writes, mixes, and produces all of it himself.

“I’m really good at time management,” Jones said. “It’s one of those commitments to where I tell myself, every song I make doesn’t have to be a hit.”

Jones grew up in Louisiana and later moved to Alabama. His dad, from Compton, loves Tupac. His mom likes soul music. Jones gets a lot of his musical inspiration from someone who spends a lot of time in Houston.

“The main person that I used to listen to, and still listen to to this day, is Drake,” Jones said. “He was one of those guys who basically set the wave for R&B music and put his little twist to it. I love the production and the different genres of music he makes.”

When asked what football and music have in common, Jones didn’t hesitate.

“Hard work and dedication,” he said. “Most rappers would end up just going to the studio and recording something and have a whole bunch of people doing their stuff, but I’m basically starting from a blank slate. I end up finding a sample, recording to it, and making a beat around it, and then I’ll end up mixing it a little bit and sending it to my audio engineer and then my master engineer.”

That grit and behind-the-scenes work ethic mirrors what Jones does on the gridiron.

“And also, with football, people only see Saturdays. But we have developmental workouts, we’ve had practice, we’re conditioning, everything like that just for 12 guaranteed games.”

Jones has been invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and his future certainly could involve the NFL. If that’s the case, expect Jones to continue his music endeavors.

“Actually, when I get my first crib and everything, I’m going to make sure my parents are straight and everything,” he said. “But I’m going to end up having a small studio, definitely, at my house.”

The goal? To win both a Grammy and a Super Bowl.

“In five years, hopefully I’m in the NFL, definitely playing and taking care of my family,” Jones said. “And also making music. I want to help others however I can and also collab with certain people such as Drake and the big-name people. Just build relationships over time.”

Jones has a song called “Guardian Angel” coming out soon. The Coogs play their final regular season game this Saturday against UConn.