Jones, a 6-foot-3, 221-pound outside linebacker from Rochester, N.Y., camped with the Irish in the morning then met with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder after lunch. That’s when the Notre Dame assistant invited Jones to join the program.
“I just told him that I’d like to play football here at the University of Notre Dame and that I accept the scholarship and commit,” Jones said. “It seemed liked everybody was outside the door listening. As soon as I committed I was met with a bunch of congratulations from all the coaches.”
As a junior at the Aquinas Institute, Jones filled in at quarterback for the injured Jake Zembiec, a Penn State commitment. That limited the amount of defensive film Jones had available to prospective coaches.
Notre Dame urged him to attend one of their summer camps and his performance led to the offer.
“I think it went very well,” Jones said. “I worked out with the defensive line coach and coach VanGorder brought me over to the side and did a few linebacker drills. He said I moved pretty well and I moved smooth. He said he liked what he saw.”
Jones then ate lunch with Irish recruiting coordinator Mike Elston before his meeting with VanGorder.
Notre Dame is recruiting Jones, the younger brother of Irish senior defensive lineman Jarron Jones, as an outside linebacker, but the Irish are leaving the door open for some flexibility.
“He told me Sam outside linebacker is where he sees me at best, but if that doesn’t work or I get too big and then he would like me to play defensive end, which he sees me doing that very well too,” Jones said. “It’s just a huge weight off my shoulders because all the pressure is all over. The recruiting is all over. It just feels great. I just can’t wait to get down here and get to work and be a student here at Notre Dame.”
Jones was excited to share the news with his brother, who tried to play it cool.
“He acted like he didn’t care much but I know he’s excited about it,” Jones said. “He texted me and said he’s very happy for me. He knew it was going to come.”
With the recruiting process behind him, Jones will focus on closing out his high school career. He’s set to play defensive end and wide receiver this fall.
He’s also looking forward to attending a few Notre Dame games as well.
“No more visits for me. I’m all done. I’m going to try and get out here for an official and a few games this year,” he said. “What fits me better is Notre Dame and there’s nothing better than Notre Dame.”