NO. 3: TE- ALIZE JONES (RS-So.)
• The Journey: Jones, a five-star recruit out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, was an instant-impact performer as a freshman in 2015, playing in all 13 games and snagging three passes each against Georgia Tech (Game 3) and UMass (Game 4).
In back-to-back games against USC and Temple, Jones played a significant role, snagging a 35-yard pass as the Irish pulled away from USC in the fourth quarter, and then making a 45-yard catch-and-run at Temple two weeks later (following a bye week) that helped set up the game-winning score against the Owls.
Jones capped his rookie season with two of his 13 receptions on the season in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State, including a 17-yarder.
With the loss of Will Fuller and Chris Brown, the Irish tried Jones as a wideout in the spring of 2016 with promising results. But it all came crashing down before his sophomore season could be launched as Jones was sidelined to tend to academics. He practiced with the team throughout the 2016 season.
• The Spring: It took a few practices before Jones saw time with the No. 1 unit, but once he did, he formed an imposing tandem with tight end Durham Smythe attached and Jones aligned just off his outside hip.
It was during the fifth practice of the spring on March 25 that Jones began working with the No. 1 unit. Jones caught a back-shoulder red-zone throw from Ian Book for a touchdown, but then followed that with a drop on a pass rifled by Book. He added an 11-yard score from Book.
In the April 7 indoor practice without full pads, Jones caught one pass each from Brandon Wimbush, Ian Book and Montgomery VanGorder in 7-on-7 drills.
Jones is a match-up headache. He’s too big and fast for cornerbacks when he’s aligned wide; he’s too fast and big when he’s coming out of the slot against linebackers and safeties.
• The Quote: “Chip (Long) is doing a terrific job with (Jones). He’s got a good relationship with him. He knows how to raise him up when he needs to and scold him when he needs to. Alizé needs a little bit of that. But he’s virtually uncoverable in certain areas of the field. He just has that kind of talent.
“The one thing that stands out to me is he’s committed himself to being a blocker and playing physical. If he continues to do that, we’re going to find ourselves with a lot of tight ends on the field. When we get into certain areas of the field, we’ll get him matched against a corner.” -- Brian Kelly
“It brings back memories. I really, really, really like playing in the boundary. I’m working at my craft and really like trying to understand the W position.” -- Jones, spring of ‘16