On a sunny August afternoon, Joseph Jones walked off the practice field with a big smile on his face. He was back on the football field once again. "Just to put a helmet back on again and get out here running with my teammates, it feels great," said Jones.
The dog days of two-a-days are over and Jones can turn his attention week one of the regular season. Jones missed most of his junior season with a broken leg. While he worked toward recovery, Plano struggled without their star running back.
Last season, Jones spent most of the fall Fridays on crutches while rooting for his team.
"It didn't feel good at all, it ate me up every single week," Jones said. ‘I was coming to the games on Friday and would be excited for them to win a game. When they lost, it broke me apart."
Even while he was on crutches, Northwestern stayed in contact with Jones and never backed off interest. NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald even came to Plano High School to visit Joseph, who was walking on crutches at the time. In May, an offer from Northwestern came and he jumped on it.
Since giving his verbal commitment, Jones has maintained contact with Northwestern coaches.
"I've updated them every once in a while letting them know how doubles went or after our summer lifting ended, stuff like that," Jones said.
Jones completed his rehab without pain before the beginning of track season. A sprinter for the Reapers, Jones got a good look at how his leg had healed up. Evidently, his leg was fine. Jones took first in state at the 110 meter hurdles.
"After I won, it was the greatest feeling ever," Jones said. "My goal was to win the state championship and then place in all the other events I was in. After I won, it was the greatest feeling ever. It was a great week that week."
Shortly after the victory, Jones received a call from Pat Fitzgerald, who wanted to offer him congratulations.
"Just to hear them say congrats was great with me," said Jones.
Jones is eager for the start of his senior season, but also excited for his future at Northwestern. He recently met with fellow 2012 commits Dean Lowry and Malin Jones at a photo shoot. In addition, he frequently makes conversation on Facebook with other commits.
When the Wildcats take the field for each home game, they will have Jones on the sidelines to root for them. He is planning on attending every game at Ryan Field. Jones has also paid attention to the excitement building for this season, and is on board with the PersaStrong campaign supporting Dan Persa as a Heisman Trophy contender.
"It's nice to see that he's going for the Heisman, I definitely hope he wins that," Jones said of Persa. "In my mind, he's a beast."
The excitement is building for Joseph Jones—the football season is almost here. The future Wildcat is at full health and ready to go full speed this season.
"Ever since I broke my leg, I was waiting to get back out," he said. "It was a long year but I'm glad to be back out here."