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This Guy Plays Notre Dame Football: #6 Tony Jones Jr.

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With Josh Adams gone to the pros, TJJ will need to take the next step as ND’s featured north-south running back

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about all of them. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2018 season.

#6 Tony Jones Jr.

Tony Jones Jr. will be a junior academically in the fall of 2018, but just a sophomore in terms of eligibility after he redshirted during his freshman season. Considering the dearth of running back depth that Notre Dame currently boasts, TJJ’s remaining eligibility and ability to stay healthy will be absolutely crucial for the Irish’s ability to run the ball effectively the next couple seasons.

Jones Jr. is a bowling ball of a running back, standing at 5’11”, 220 pounds and bringing a combination of power and soft hands to go along with Dexter Williams’ elusiveness and second gear very nicely.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Jones Jr. was mostly the backup to Josh Adams last year, and before dealing with some injury issues was a pretty solid second option, running for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns while running at a 5.4 yards-per-carry clip.

Now, with Adams gone and Dexter Williams having not necessarily proven he is the feature back for this season (not that he had much of a chance to prove it with his lack of carries last year), Tony Jones Jr. has a chance to step in and really become an every-down back who can do a lot of the little, consistent things that the ND rushing offense needs to be close to as productive on the ground as last year.

3 Things To Know About Tony Jones Jr.

  1. TJJ was a fantastic high school baseball player as well, playing for IMG Academy in Florida. He batted .491 (26 of 53) with two doubles, a triple, a home run, nine RBI, 11 stolen bases and 16 runs scored in 18 games as a junior in 2015. He briefly considered continuing his baseball career at ND as a dual-sport athlete, but that never materialized as he decided to focus on football. RBs coach Autry Denson was quoted as saying “I wasn’t worried about Tony ever playing baseball.”
  2. Tony majors in Film, Television, & Theatre in the College of Arts and Letters — fans should thus expect to see him put on quite a show this season, am I right???
  3. Tony changed his number from 34 to 6, but really the number he always wanted was 4. He discusses that plus other things in a recent interview.

Youtube Hot Fire

Country, Condiment, or Canon

Identifying the player as either a country, condiment, or member of the Star Wars Canon.

Chewbacca. Tony Jones Jr. is an absolute unit in the backfield - he’s strong with a low center of gravity and absolutely runs with a punishing full head of steam. Chewbacca, from what I recall from the Star Wars movies I’ve seen, is a pretty big guy as well (taller, sure...but still just a big, physical guy in general) — quite the force when he needs to be.

Also, Tony Jones Jr. has fantastic hair, and lots of it — and Chewbacca is, you know, covered in hair. So I feel like there’s something there.

Screenshot of Tony Jones Jr.’s profile on UND.com

Also, please do not question me on this or bring up reasons this comparison is weak — my Star Wars knowledge is incredibly basic and I refuse to listen to you correct me.

So, hopefully TJJ can be the Chewbacca to Brandon Wimbush’s Han Solo in the backfield this season. It would go a helluva long way for the Irish’s chances at making the College Football Playoff.

2018 Forecast

I think Tony Jones Jr. is going to have a very good season in 2018. He got unlucky last year with injuries, as he had a chance to really step in and play well with end-of-year opportunity afforded by Williams and Adams suffering from various maladies. Instead, Deon McIntosh was able to step in and produce before he was later sent home from the Citrus Bowl and then dismissed from the team.

Now, with Adams and McIntosh gone and Williams not having the size or physicality that Jones Jr. does, I think TJJ is going to get a lot of carries next season and be very productive in doing so. He probably won’t break off many Josh Adams-esque 80-yard runs, but he will eat up decent chunks of yardage and also provide a solid safety valve for Wimbush in the passing game.

NCAA Football: Temple at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

My overall prediction: he runs for 600+ yards and has 200+ more through the air, staying relatively healthy for most of a season where various running back injuries would absolutely devastate this offense.