It's official: Jones to UC
BY BILL KOCH | BKOCH@ENQUIRER.COM
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A month ago, Demetrius Jones was getting ready to start his first game at quarterback for Notre Dame.
On Thursday afternoon he walked into University of Cincinnati football coach Brian Kelly’s office and told him that he wanted to play for the Bearcats.
“A whole bunch of things took place that weren’t planned,” Jones said. “That’s the way it goes.”
Jones, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound sophomore from Chicago, was the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish’s season-opening loss to Georgia Tech.
He completed 1-of-3 passes in that game for four yards and ran 12 times for 28 yards before getting benched. He decided to leave Notre Dame after he lost his starting job for the Sept. 8 Penn State game.
“It’s a great school,” Jones said of Notre Dame, “a tremendous atmosphere. It’s just unfortunate the way it worked out.”
UC coach Brian Kelly said he first learned of Jones’ interest in UC 48 hours ago “when I got a paper on my desk. It was a release from Notre Dame giving us permission to talk to him.”
Kelly had a prior relationship with Jones, whom he recruited out of Morgan Park High School in Chicago while he was the coach at Central Michigan.
When he contacted Jones, he suggested that Jones visit the UC campus to meet the coaches, check out the facilities and explore the academic opportunities before making a decision. Jones was at UC’s practice Wednesday.
“My whole point of going to Notre Dame was the same reason I committed here,” Jones said, “the atmosphere on campus, they’ve got top-notch facilities. They’ve got a head coach who’s been coaching for 16 years, and the offense. I can put some of my best qualities on display. I just think it was a perfect fit.”
Jones was a Parade prep All-American at Morgan Park and was rated No. 33 on USA Today’s list of the top 100 prep players in the country. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl prep all-star game.
“It’s a new day for Cincinnati football,” Kelly said. “We see ourselves as a national recruiting school. That’s how we see ourselves, that we can get these kids to come and play at the University of Cincinnati.
“He’s athletic. He can run it and he can throw it. In this day and age, we see that position requires more than a guy who can just drop back (and throw). He has to be able to do things with his feet.”
Because UC has no scholarships available, Jones will have to pay his own way at UC, but only for fall quarter.
Kelly said UC has four or five seniors who are scheduled to graduate at the end of fall quarter. When one of their scholarships becomes available, it will go to Jones, who will have to sit out this year under NCAA rules for transfers.
Jones will face plenty of competition at UC. Junior Dustin Grutza returns next year, along with sophomore Tony Pike, sophomore Craig Carey and freshmen Chazz Anderson and Zach Collaros, both of whom are being redshirted this year.
In addition, senior Ben Mauk, the current starter, plans to apply for a medical hardship waiver that could give him another year of eligibility next season.