INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WFLA) – Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. is soaking in everything he can at the NFL Scouting Combine. The former St. Petersburg Catholic and IMG Academy two-sport star knows this opportunity for a football player only happens once.
“I never thought about things like being here,” Jones said. “I thought the combine was like two days, really. Now, I’m here and it’s five (days) and I’m like wow!”
Do not let Jones’ take on the combine take you by surprise. He has spent his entire life building for this very moment. On Friday, he will run and perform drills alongside some players with expectations to go high in April’s NFL Draft. He will compete and stick to the core values taught by his dad, Tony Sr. Beliefs that began with his first-ever football practice for the Northeast Bandits at age 6.
“My dad always taught me to be yourself,” Jones said. ” It doesn’t matter if teams don’t like you. It only takes one team to like you and then you get drafted.”
Jones was Notre Dame’s leading rusher in 2019 with 857 yards. He also scored six touchdowns. In his final game for the Fighting Irish, Jones scored on an 84-yard run in a 33-9 victory over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl.
Jones is proud of his Tampa Bay area roots and keeps in touch with many of the athletes he knew growing up like Los Angeles Rams linebacker Dante Fowler. He wants to inspire others who may be playing football for the first time in the Northeast youth league and intends to help any way he can.
“St. Pete made me,” Jones said. “It raised me from the ground up and I always got to give back to them. When I’ve got the money, they’re going to get it.”
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