Reinventing Bobby Jones


A standout Yankton football player whose talents earned him a scholarship at Michigan State is now sharing the story of how he screwed it all up. 

Bobby Jones is now a faith-based hip hop artist and motivational speaker, is using his battle with alcoholism to teach today’s youth about character and making the right choices. 

Bobby Jones, also known by his rapper name Bobby Bugattii, is a big personality. He’s also really big. At 6′ 6″ and more than 300-pounds, the Yankton-native stands out in a crowd. 

“My mom is white. My dad is black. So it was a little different growing up. I kind of always felt out of place a little bit. For the most part, we were accepted. Obviously when sports came and got really relevant, that kind of all went away. It was a good experience. I loved growing up in Yankton. A great place to grow up and raise a family,” Jones said. 

Jones made a name for himself in high school as an elite football player. The Bucks even won a state title over Washington his senior year in the fall of 2002. 

“Really surreal moment. One of the best experiences of my life. It was just crazy. Yankton has always had a rich tradition and to be a part of that championship team that dates back in the years is just really special. It was fun,” Jones said. 

Unfortunately, his attention in the classroom did not match his skills on the field. Jones would have to spend time at a junior college in North Dakota getting his grades up. In the meantime, he continued to dominate on the football team and eventually landed several D-I scholarship offers. 

“My life really changed, got turned upside down. I’m like whoa, I’m this kid from Yankton, South Dakota. Now I’m a blue-chip athlete that I read about,” Jones said. 

He picked an offer from Michigan State and ended up playing for the Spartans defense until he found himself in trouble with the law. 

“The pressure caught up with me. Thought I had the world in the palm of my hands but the world really had me. I got caught up in the lifestyle and it ultimately led to me getting kicked off the team at Michigan State when Coach Dantonio got there,” Jones said. 

Alcohol, partying and a regrettable encounter with a woman got so out of control that it landed Jones in jail for four weekends.

“I didn’t hit her. Now I did throw some alcohol on her and flinch at her but I did not touch her. It was just a crazy situation in my life. I had a lot of stuff going on that I kind of would bury down and the drinking obviously didn’t help,” Jones said. “The alcohol at the time turned me into a different person. Sometimes people would describe it, ‘Bobby, we’d look into your eyes and it was like you weren’t even home. You weren’t even there.'”  

After one too many missteps, Jones was cut from the team and his coach wouldn’t even talk to him. A lot of regret and motivation to help kids learn from his mistakes, that’s what drives him today. 

“Talent will take you where character will not keep you and choices that you’re making today will affect the future that you want for tomorrow. I say that how those two things couldn’t be more truthful to my life and I go into how that all happened and played out,” Jones said. 

He spends his time these days praising God through music and talking with kids at events like this at Brandon High School. Jones also recently wrapped up a tour with LifeLight’s Z8 Initiative. 

“Very different talents. We were able to use those to glorify God is obviously who we put our faith in. I do music as well so I’m able to talk to this young generation in a way that you can relate to them,” Jones said. 

His positive personality and stories from a dark past seem to be connecting. After a 30 minute speech, students and staff at Brandon High School had several questions and we caught up with a few to see what they will be taking away. 

“What I’m doing right now is probably going to end up affecting, or is going to affect what I end up doing. Just kind of comparing those and hoping that I do my best,” senior Sydney Trout said.

“Alcohol and maybe drugs and wanting to party and getting caught up with the wrong crowd just to feel accepted or look cool. I think Bobby really spoke to that really well and definitely something to think about,” senior Jack Talcott said. 

Even though he’s 32, Jones sympathizes with teenagers and knows they face plenty of struggles. 

“People show me videos of youth hanging themselves on social media and different things. It’s crazy. I want to get out there and say no guys, there’s a better life out there,” Jones said. 

Poor choices took away a lot of opportunities in his life but he isn’t giving up and he encourages others to fight for a meaningful future.  

“I don’t want to ever go back to that life I was living,” Jones said. 

He’s making giant strides forward one event at a time. 

On top of speeches at schools, Jones is performing at local churches around KELOLAND. 

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