Irish co-lead for Carolina safety

Safety Thomas Jones Jr. recaps his visit to Notre Dame, explaining where the Irish fit into his list with a commitment deadline quickly approaching.

Notre Dame hosted safety Thomas Jones Jr. of Laurens (S.C.) District 55 on an overnight visit last week.

“It was awesome, it really was,” Jones said. “On Monday we drove all day and got there that night. The next morning we got a chance to sit down with the academic people and they discussed everything to us. We saw the locker rooms and all of the equipment, too.”

Two cousins, including one that graduated from Notre Dame, accompanied the three-star safety on his visit.

“It was nice having that cousin with me because he was able to show me everything in a different way because he was familiar with it all already,” Jones said.

Following a tour of campus, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound prospect met with the coaching staff.

“I sat down with the defensive coordinator (Brian VanGorder) and defensive backs coach (Todd Lyght) and they explained their scheme to me,” Jones said. “I think it’s really cool how they see me. They wanted me to learn the free safety, strong safety and nickel spots, which is great because that creates more chances for me to play.”

Jones is eyeing a September commitment, and fresh off a strong first visit the Irish are a top contender. 

Vanderbilt and Notre Dame are my top two schools, and South Carolina and UNC are still in the mix,” Jones said. “From an academic standpoint, the school that I choose will be very important to me. I am big on life after football.”

Jones intends to play baseball as well in college. A centerfielder, he earned All-State honors in South Carolina as a junior.

“I am going to Florida for baseball this week and then I travel to Chicago for the Under Armour All-America game in a couple weeks, so I think I am done with visits except for the one to Notre Dame,” Jones said. “I got to talk to the baseball staff a little bit at Notre Dame and I know they have another football player committed that plans to play both sports, too.”

Jones visited co-leader Vanderbilt on a three-day trip in June, but Notre Dame is likely to be the final school he sees before making a decision.

“I think I am going to go back (to Notre Dame) for the Texas game because that’s the best time,” Jones said. “I was thinking about the USC game, but I know I’m committing in September, so that wouldn’t really work.”

Jones will play both safety and quarterback on the gridiron this fall.

Scout ranks Jones as a three-star prospect and as the No. 66 safety in the Class of 2016.


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