AT COLORADO: 2006(Sr.)—Suffered a torn meniscus in practice on Oct. 3, and underwent surgery two days later, missing the next five games. He returned to start the home finale against Iowa State, as he also had started the first five games of the year before the injury; he played in seven games total with six starts. In 449 plays from scrimmage, he had 52 tackles (30 solo), with two for losses and two third down stops. He also had four pass deflections and an interception; he had the pick in the Arizona State game, when he logged a season-high nine tackles (he also had nine against Iowa State). He was a preseason first-team All-Big 12 selection by Athlon, collegefootballnews.com, Lindy’s Big 12 Football and USA Today Sports Weekly, while The Sporting News tabbed him a second-team choice and ranked him as the No. 9 free safety in the nation (Lindy’s ranked him as the No. 16 overall safety in the land). He was also on the Football Writer’s Association of America preseason All-America checklist. He finished with 307 career tackles, the third most by a defensive back in Colorado history and 12th overall, with his 211 solo stops tied for ninth on that all-time list. He also tied for 23rd all-time in tackles for loss (25).
2005 (Jr.)—He started all 13 games including the Champs Sports Bowl at safety in earning honorable mention All-Big 12 Conference honors from both the Associated Press and the league coaches (he was a second-team All-Colorado team member by the Colorado Chapter of the National Football Foundation). In playing the second most snaps on defense (747), he finished second on the team in tackles with 85, including 58 solo and seven for losses (with one quarterback sack). He was fourth with 12 third down stops, adding five pass deflections, four hurries, two fumble recoveries, two quarterback chasedowns, a touchdown save and a forced fumble to go with two interceptions, which he posted against Colorado State and Kansas. Against the Jayhawks, he also matched his career high with 15 tackles (eight solo), and forced a fumble at midfield in the third quarter that led to a key touchdown that put the Buffs up 30-13 at the time in a 44-13 win. Other top games included 11 tackles against Colorado State, 10 at Kansas State, nine at Texas and eight (all solo) against the Longhorns in the Big 12 title game. In the bowl game against Clemson, he recorded three tackles, all unassisted stops. He was CU’s defensive back of the week for three games, Colorado State, Texas A&M and Kansas. Surgeries and other issues behind him, he rejoined the team for the fall and helped shore up both CU’s rush defense and overall secondary. He did not participate in spring drills as he completed rehabilitation for knee surgery in addition to not participating in all team activities while concentrating on academics. Phil Steele’s College Football ranked him as the No. 25 defensive back in the nation despite his playing in just two games last fall.
2004 (Jr.-RS)—He suffered a sprained knee midway during August drills (August 19), but he was able to play in the opener against Colorado State, where he saw action for 44 plays... none bigger than the game’s final one, when he stuffed Colorado State’s Tristian Walker for a 2-yard loss on a third-and-goal play as time ran out to preserve a 27-24 CU win. He sat out the next two games, and with an open week in the mix as well, was hopeful of being healthy for the league portion of the schedule. Though he did play 38 snaps at Missouri and had a big game (six tackles, a forced fumble, a hurry and a third down stop), the swelling persisted and he had season-ending surgery on October 12. Thus, he played in just the two games and was eligible for a medical redshirt year since he had one available to him. Street & Smith’s tabbed him as a preseason honorable mention All-American and one of 26 candidates for the Jim Thorpe Award, while Lindy’s Big 12 Football selected him as a preseason second-team all-Big 12 Conference performer as well as the No. 16 safety in the nation.
2003 (Soph.)—In earning honorable mention all-Big 12 Conference honors from the league coaches, he started all 12 games and finished third on the team in tackles with 94 (69 solo), along with eight tackles for loss, six third down stops, six quarterback hurries, three touchdown saves, three pass deflections and two interceptions. He also earned first-team all-Colorado honors from the Colorado chapter of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame. He was CU’s defensive back of the week on three occasions, all late in the season after he really got things going: against Texas Tech he had six tackles and two interceptions; against Missouri he posted a season-high 14 tackles, including two for losses; and against Iowa State, he had five tackles, two for losses with a sack, a third down stop and a fumble recovery. His two interceptions against Tech came three-and-a-half minutes apart in the first quarter, making him the 10th CU player in history to record two thefts in the same quarter. He also had 13 tackles against Kansas State, 10 against Nebraska and nine each versus Colorado State and Washington State. He earned three special team points on the strength of two solo tackles and a downed punt. He sat out the second half of spring drills to concentrate on academics (he needed to catch up a bit), but was back on schedule by fall camp.
2002 (Fr.)—A first-team Freshman All-American by both the FWAA and The Sporting News, he was also first-team Freshman All-Big 12 and the recipient of CU’s Lee Willard Award, presented by the coaches to the most outstanding freshman. He played in all 14 games, including the Alamo Bowl, with six starts; he saw most of his action in CU’s dime package, and played the bulk of his snaps at free safety. In earning his way on to CU’s prestigious Victory Club, he finished seventh on the team in tackles with 67, a number that ranked him eighth in the NCAA for tackles by a true freshman. It also set a CU record for the most tackles in a season by a true frosh, as he broke the old mark of 52 set by Jashon Sykes in 1998. In his first start against San Diego State, he established a school record for the most tackles by a true freshman when he posted 15, including 12 solo stops. He had 47 unassisted tackles on the year, with seven for losses and a quarterback sack. He had two third down stops, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles, one of which was huge: it came in overtime at Missouri, preventing a Tiger first down as Kory Mossoni recovered the ball to end the game. Other top games came against Kansas (12 tackles) and Baylor (10); in the bowl game against Wisconsin he had one tackle (for a 4-yard loss). He finished second on the team in special team points with 13, on the strength of nine tackles (one inside-the-20), two knockdown blocks and a forced fumble. He also won a “CUSPY,” as he was selected as CU’s Male Freshman of the Year for all sports.
HIGH SCHOOL—As a senior, he garnered PrepStar and SuperPrep All-America accolades along with first-team all-Colorado honors (Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News), with the Post selecting him to its 12-man Blue Chip list. He also earned first-team all-state and all-conference honors playing slot back, with Prep Football Report and SP both selecting him to their all-Midlands teams. Rivals.com ranked him No. 34 in its special “athlete” category; PrepStar had him as the No. 6 athlete out of the Midlands. As a junior, he earned first-team all-league honors at linebacker, and was an honorable mention all-state performer. He amassed 1,177 total yards as a senior, including 736 rushing (105 carries, 7 touchdowns) and 441 receiving (17 catches, 5 TDs). He had five touchdowns of 70 yards or longer in length; two came on 89- and 81-yard runs against Smoky Hill. He did not play defense as a senior; as a junior, he was in on 80 tackles, with four forced fumbles, two sacks, three interceptions and a recovery playing linebacker, the same position he logged 50 tackles and an interception as a sophomore. Over on offense, he racked up just shy of 1,000 yards, as he had 700-plus rushing and 200-plus receiving with two scores. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown as a junior showing his versatility. Top games included the 42-20 win over Smoky Hill as a senior, when he had 226 yards and three scores; he had 14 carries for 184 yards and three scores in a 28-21 win over Overland and in a 35-24 loss to Mullen, he had 170 yards and two scores. Eaglecrest was 8-3 his senior year, reaching the state quarterfinals, and was 2-8 his junior and 4-6 his sophomore seasons under coach Gary Thompson. He also lettered in twice in basketball as a guard/forward and three times in track (hurdles and relays). He was a member of the state champion 4-x100 relay team as a junior, and was the state champ in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles (14.02 and 37.37 times, respectively) and on the 800-meter winning relay team (1:27.09) as well as a senior.
ACADEMICS—He majored in sociology at Colorado.
PERSONAL—He was born November 16, 1983 in Denver. His hobbies include listening to music and video games. His father (Jon, Sr.) played college football at Central Methodist College, with a cousin, Micha Billingsley, played wide receiver first at Fort Lewis and then at Northern Michigan. J.J. stands for Jon, Jr.