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Paul Newberry | The Associated Press | December 31, 2016

Alabama's dynasty under Saban no surprise to Julio Jones

  Julio Jones (left) helped build the Nick Saban dynasty currently at Alabama.

Julio Jones was there for the beginning of Alabama's latest dynasty.

He never had any doubt that Nick Saban would turn things around.

Even after the Crimson Tide went 7-6 in Saban's first season, including a home loss to Louisiana-Monroe, Jones was among a stellar class of recruits that signed in 2008.

"We were going to work and get this thing turned around," said Jones, now a star receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. "They've been off and running since then."

Indeed, Alabama went 12-0 in Jones' freshman season before losing to eventual national champion Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship game. As a sophomore, he helped lead the Tide to a perfect record and the first of what would become four national titles in the last eight years.

Jones was a first-round pick of the Falcons in 2011.

After Alabama (13-0) plays Saturday in the Peach Bowl semifinal against Washington, Jones and the Falcons will close out the NFL regular season Sunday at the Georgia Dome against the New Orleans Saints. 

Atlanta has already clinched the NFC South title and a trip to the playoffs.

This article was written by Paul Newberry from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.