He was already at ETSU waiting for football to join him.
Jones graduated from Tennessee High in Bristol in 2013. After his senior year, he was checking out his college football options. When some smaller schools came calling, the undersized linebacker got some advice from his father, Jim.
“I was putting my toes in the water, maybe looking at places to play, and my dad made a prediction they were going to bring football back,” Jones said.
Jones’ dad was, indeed, correct. By the time Jones had graduated from high school, ETSU had announced it was bringing back the sport it hadn’t played since 2003.
“I decided to enroll at ETSU,” he said.
Jones’ first thought when he heard football was coming back was “How am I going to get on that team?”
Eventually, Jones and his dad met with Torbush to see what was necessary to become part of the team. Jones enrolled in ETSU as a part-time student so his eligibility clock wouldn’t start just yet. Because of that, he has four years left to play.
“I wanted him to know how bad I wanted to play,” Jones said.
After his performance in a weightlifting class showed his commitment and a tryout showed his skills, Jones was invited to join the team.
Jones is a 195-pound linebacker, but his football instincts make up for his lack of size. Also, he was a state-tournament qualifier in wrestling in high school.
Jones has been working with the second team on defense and appears to have found a home on special teams as a coverage guy.
“I believe my knowledge of the game and my tackling are my strengths,” he said. “I feel really good how this team is going and individually. I feel positive about everything.”
So what did Jones say to to his dad when their patience was rewarded?
“I told him thank you,” Jones said. “I gave him a big hug.”