Height: 6-0 Weight: 235 Age: 31
Born: 3/13/1985 Syracuse , NY
College: Boston College
The emotional leader of the Eagles' defense, Jolonn Dunbar has an exceptional work ethic that rubs off on teammates.
He compensates for a lack of ideal size with keen field vision and awareness, as he always seems to be in position to make the big play. That was evident in the 2006 Maryland contest, where he tied an NCAA record by recovering two fumbles that he returned for touchdowns on the Terps' first two drives of the game.
Excellence on the football field is nothing new for Dunbar, who was a four-year standout at Thomas J. Corcoran High School. He earned All-State Class AA first-team honors as a senior running back and second-team All-Stater as a junior, when he also competed as a linebacker. He added All-American accolades from Super Prep and was an All-East choice by Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report.
The 2002 Central New York Co-Player of the Year rushed for 2,182 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior and finished his career with 5,136 rushing yards and 55 scores, both school records. On defense, he recorded 83 tackles, two sacks and four forced fumbles as a senior, leading the team to a 9-2 record and the Section III Class AA title.
With his mother, Michelle Johnson, an employee in the Syracuse football office, it was expected that Dunbar would enroll at the university. But, the coaching staff told him that he could not play halfback and wished to recruit him as a linebacker. He declined a scholarship offer and enrolled at Boston College, spending the 2003 season on the scout team. Midway through the season, he abandoned his dream to play offense and asked the coaching staff for a switch to defense.
The following season, Dunbar appeared in 10 games as a reserve linebacker, recording 37 tackles (24 solo) with 2 1/2 stops for losses, a forced fumble and two pass deflections in 2004. He started vs. Maryland and Boise State for an injured Brian Toal in 2005, playing in 12 games at middle linebacker. He ranked seventh on the squad with 50 tackles (37 solo), an assisted sack and five stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused a fumble and recovered another that he advanced 94 yards for a touchdown. He also batted away three passes and returned an onside kickoff one yard.
In 2006, Dunbar was the Meineke Bowl Most Valuable Player and led the team with 92 tackles (50 solo) while starting 11 games at middle linebacker. He sat out the Buffalo game with a right shoulder separation and the Miami game with a right high ankle sprain. He collected two sacks with 7 1/2 stops for losses and a forced fumble. He also recovered three fumbles, returning two for touchdowns. He deflected one pass and intercepted another.
The senior team captain led a BC defense that did not yield more than 69 yards rushing in any of the first seven games in 2007, but a right high ankle sprain vs. Florida would force Dunbar to sit out the Maryland clash and when he returned, he came off the bench during the team's final three regular-season contests. The defense struggled without their emotional leader, allowing 843 yards in the two games he was on the sidelines and saw their national title hopes dashed, as the Eagles lost three of their last five games.
Still, Dunbar ranked third on the squad with 83 tackles (45 solo). He was credited with 12 quarterback pressures and 6 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He deflected five passes and for the third consecutive year, he scored a defensive touchdown, returning an interception 14 yards for a score.
In 45 games at Boston College, Dunbar started 22 contests. He registered 262 tackles (156 solo) with 2 1/2 sacks for minus-12 yards and 21 1/2 stops for losses of 58 yards. He caused three fumbles and deflected seven passes. He gained 45 yards on a pair of interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He also scored three times on four fumble recoveries, totaling 151 yards and also recovered an onside kickoff for a one-yard gain.