Ryan Easterling

Midwest athlete sees ‘laid back’ side of ND

Last fall Micah Jones got an introduction to Notre Dame with a game day visit. Returning for Junior Day last weekend offered a different perspective for the sophomore wide receiver from Gurnee, Ill.

Micah Jones got to know Notre Dame a little bit last fall with a game day visit.

Getting back to campus last weekend for Junior Day, however, offered the sophomore receiver from Gurnee, Ill., a different perspective. Everything about the trip was more low key than the pomp and circumstance of a fall Saturday.

“It was a great campus,” Jones said. “It was laid back, not too much going on. That’s probably how I’d want it to be. I wouldn’t want it to be crazy all the time. I just want to chill and go to class and meet new people and have it laid back. I wouldn’t want to have a party campus all the time. That’d be fun but it’d get tiring after awhile.”

Being in South Bend for a more in-depth visit also let Jones understand some things in more detail.

Notre Dame offered campus tours, a look around the football facilities, a panel discussion with current players and academic presentation. Jones took particular note of what the academic advisors had to say during their talk.

Turns out they hit the right notes.

“A lot of it was how they’re not going to hold your hand, which I liked a lot because you want to mature as a college athlete,” Jones said. “Through those four years you want to mature and grow from a kid to an adult. That’s a big part of my decision. I don’t want people holding my hand the whole way through, telling me what major I should do. I wanna be able to do my own major and do it myself without that much hand holding. That was a good thing for me to see.”

Jones also touched base with most of the coaching staff, including wide receivers coach and area recruiter Mike Denbrock. They told the 6-foot-4, 190-pound prospect they’d like to see him back in the summer for the Irish Invasion.

Turning in a strong performance there could net Jones a scholarship offer. Having the opportunity to earn one is all he wants.

“That’s what I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Jones said. “I just want to earn the offers out here and see where that goes. I want to work with the coaches, see how they feel working with them.”

Jones already holds offers from Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. He plans to visit Michigan State this week plus check out Ohio State, Illinois and Northwestern. Penn State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M have also expressed interest recently.

Some of those programs will no doubt join Notre Dame in getting Jones to camp this summer. He hopes to impress during that June circuit.

“I’m gonna work hard,” Jones said. “I’m not gonna sit back and relax. I’m gonna work hard all the time. I’m gonna have the big frame they’re looking for, run good routes and have good footwork. That’s what I’m really looking for. And be a smart kid. That’s what I try to do.”

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