Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

RB Tony Jones Jr. All In For Notre Dame

August 18, 2019
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Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. has arrived in South Bend as a player who took pride in blocking and the aspect of the game many don’t notice.
 
The Florida native has grown his game in those areas over the last three seasons and it has caught the eye of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly.

“Tony had an incredible play on a 3rd down situation which we converted across the middle to Chris Finke,” Kelly said following Saturday’s scrimmage. “He stepped up in the A-gap against a blitzing linebacker, which is indicative to the skill set he has that will help us win football games. I know it doesn’t sell subscriptions, but he does for coaches a lot of little things that help you win football games.”

Praise isn’t something Jones needs from Kelly, but the senior back was pleased to hear it.

“It feels great to hear that from the head guy and know my hard work is being put together and showing on the field,” Jones stated. “I’d do anything the team wants me to. I play special teams and do all that. It really doesn’t matter. I’ll block or run.”
 
Jones was the featured back at IMG Academy (Fla.), but he also shared the backfield with five-star quarterback Shea Patterson. Blocking was important at IMG Academy and Jones knew he had to step his game up once he got to Notre Dame to get on the field earlier than later.
 
“To get on the field early, you have to block,” stated Jones. “I always took pride in blocking. I always worked on blocking after practice. Josh Adams, Tarean Folston and Dexter (Williams) helped a little bit. All the older guys helped me find my punch and my feet.”
 
The dedication to blocking has also gained respect from Notre Dame’s offensive line. While Jones might not be in the inner circle, the offensive line respects what Jones does and there is a healthy relationship there.
 
“They are great,” said Jones. “They eat together. They study and watch film together. It all shows on the field when they do their schemes.
 
“I would say I’m like their little brother. I get picked on because I’m short. They make fun of me and they fight with me. It’s a tight bond.

“They call me ‘Fat back’ and ‘Cheeto head.’ I go at their hair or I make fun of their feet and stuff like that.”
 
Jones has battled nagging injuries the last two seasons, but 2018 was still a positive year. The 5-foot-11, 224-pounder ran for team392 yards and scored three touchdowns while adding 157 yards and one score receiving.
 
Staying healthy seems to be the only concern for Jones heading into 2019.
 
“God-willing, I hope I make it through the whole season healthy,” Jones said. “I know I can do great things here and do good for the team.
 
Notre Dame will pair Jones up with Jafar Armstrong, who has a different skillset and it’s all love between the two.
 
“I think I’m the fast one and I got the scats,” laughed Jones. “We’re going to be a great 1-2 punch. It’s going to be hard for teams to stop us.”
 
“All the good teams have a 1-2 punch everywhere. I think ours will be really good and I really like it. I can’t be worried about myself when I have to be worried about the team. Jafar is my boy. We got close when he visited and then he came here. We watch film and hang out together.”

 
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