SAN ANTONIO – Notre Dame commitment Tony Jones took his time leaving the turf at Heroes Stadium on Thursday.
It was the last time Jones would make that walk from the playing field to the locker room before Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome. Friday’s walkthrough will take place at the Wheatley Heights Sportsplex.
He wanted to savor the moment and reflect on what he has accomplished as a high school football player.
On Saturday, he hopes to show a national TV audience that he isn’t just a power back.
“I’m just trying to show everybody that I’m a one-of-a-kind back,” Jones said. “I can run, catch, block, get up field and make moves and all that.”
He showed that Thursday.
During swing pass drills Jones made a leaping, one-handed catch of an overthrown ball and later during goal line drills he displayed a quick burst with feet quick enough to shift directions without slowing down.
That long walk to the locker room let him reflect on just how far he’s come.
“I have my first step back and getting my feet hot,” he said. “I’m just trying to get my game back all together.”
Jones believes he’s ready to showcase his skills to the NBC audience on Saturday and he’s also smart enough to know to follow future teammate Tommy Kraemer, the East’s starting right tackle.
“Tommy is probably the only lineman here that hasn’t got a break off the reps yet,” Jones said. “I think he’s lost a handful or something like that but Tommy is a beast. On all his reps he goes 110-percent. He’s a great lineman. Tommy is probably the best lineman here.”
Jones also earned Kraemer’s respect.
“He runs hard,” Kraemer said. “He finishes the plays and cuts real well. I’m really looking forward to playing with him Saturday and the next four years.”
Scout.com recruiting analyst Allen Trieu is eager to see more of Jones in a live, full contact situation.
“It is difficult for running backs in this setting, so we will see Tony show his talents more on Saturday when everything is live, but there have been flashes of why he was such a highly recruited guy,” Trieu said. “There was one run where he made somebody miss and showed great burst, especially for a kid with his build. He's a thicker kid who looks ready for college physically.”