Alabama sportswriters name Julio Jones pro athlete of year

Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons makes a catch over Eric Rowe #25 of the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. / AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Julio Jones is the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s pro athlete of the year.

The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver earned the award after helping the Falcons make their first Super Bowl appearance since 1998 and second in franchise history.

He will be honored at the association’s annual convention Sunday night in Hoover, Alabama.

Jones made his second straight Pro Bowl. The former Alabama star from Foley had 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns despite missing two games with a sprained toe.

Jones had a huge postseason and made a stunning sideline catch late in the Super Bowl game against New England, which the Falcons lost in overtime. He had 19 catches for 334 yards and three touchdowns in the postseason.

But Jones’ biggest game came in Week 4. He had 12 catches for a Falcons-record 300 yards against the Carolina Panthers, including a 75-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

The 300 yards represented the fourth-best single-game total since 1960 and the most since Detroit’s Calvin Johnson had a 329-yard game three years earlier.

Jones shared the credit with his teammates after the huge performance.

“You can’t do this by yourself,” Jones said following the game. “You can play really well by yourself, but you can’t win and have success by yourself. It’s a team game and team effort. The way we practice and the way we love each other showed today.”

Against Carolina, he had six receptions for 152 yards at the seven-minute mark of the second quarter.

Jones has nine games with at least 160 yards receiving. Only Lance Alworth, with 12, and Jerry Rice, with 11, had more in their first six seasons.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder has 497 catches for 7,610 yards and 40 touchdowns with the Falcons.

Jones was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 draft after starring for the Crimson Tide for three seasons. At Alabama, he was the first true freshman receiver to start a season opener.