Jones Finally Makes It Up To ND

Whenever Andre Jones would travel up to his alma mater Notre Dame for a football game, he'd never be able to take his son Tai-Ler because his boy had his own athletic endeavors.

This fall, Tai-Ler Jones was finally able to go.

The class-of-2010 receiver from Gainesville (Ga.) High attended the Irish's 35-17 victory over Michigan earlier this season.

"It was a great," Jones stated. He recently picked up his first scholarship offer from Arkansas. "It's a different atmosphere than most campuses, and my Dad's National Championship team was being honored, and they had a lot of accolades for that team, and they packed the stadium.

"It was a great overall feeling being in those surroundings."

It was a great feeling for Andre Jones to finally be able to bring his son up to South Bend.

"I couldn't of been more elated, and what perfect timing for him to come up during the 88-reunion game and see all the guys I basically grew up with," Jones explained. He played defensive end for the Irish from 1987-91. "Rocket is like a Godfather, and seeing Chris Zorich, and Todd Lyght was my roommate. The only person missing was Ricky Watters, he was my roommate also, and we all lived in Morrissey together."

Jones' mother also graduated from Notre Dame. They arrived in South Bend on Saturday and left the next morning.

The 6-foot, 177-pound Jones, who is also hearing from the likes of LSU, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Clemson, Auburn and Oregon, got a chance to get some one-on-one time with Irish assistant coaches Rob Ianello and Jon Tenuta.

"They just want me to gain a little bit of weight so I can take some of those big hits over the middle," Jones said. He hasn't been taking too many big hits this fall, using his 4.45 second speed in helping lead Gainesville High to a 7-0 record with 43 receptions for over 600 yards. Jones is also a standout on defense and in the kick and punt return games.

Ianello and Tenuta weren't the only Notre Dame coaches taking a recruiting interest in Jones. Lou Holtz spent 15 minutes with his former player's son.

"He's definitely as wise as he seems," Jones said. "He's all rowdy on TV, but when you talk to him in person, he is real calm and low key and elegant with his words.

"He said if I'm anything like my Dad, and from what he's heard I am, I'd be a great attribute to the program, and if I go there, I'm getting more than an athletic program."

Following the game, Jones gave his son a tour of the campus.

"He took me around where he used to live, and all the places he used to go to," Jones said. "I got more of a student outlook than a coach or teacher outlook.

"It doesn't look like you're average college. It has a lot of history in their buildings, and the degree you get from that college is one of the best you can get."

Jones has also taken trips to Clemson, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Auburn, and he's going to Georgia Tech this coming weekend. He will be back at Notre Dame for possibly the spring game, and for sure a one-day camp in the summer.

Jones' father has been a great shoulder to lean on as the recruiting process begins to pick up.

"He's telling me what to look for, and what questions to ask when we go on these visits," Jones said. "Look into more than just how good their football team is."

"I'm taking more of a 30-foot level, than a hands on son you're going here type role," the elder Jones began. He is in the commercial real-estate business. "I want to guide him through the process and make sure he is looking at the right things starting off with academics, and making sure you can live with this coaching staff the next four or five years of your life. And then the depth chart and seeing when you can get on the field. Those are the three main things we're looking at.

"Those are the things we're looking at, but obviously Notre Dame is going to be in the forefront of my mind. I'm trying to not to be bias, but it's hard not to."

It was also hard to not get nostalgic while being around his former teammates and coaches. Jones can definitely see his son going through the same experiences.

"What a dream come true that would be for a parent and a former player."


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