Monday, August 15, 2005

Mr. Jones | by Pat

The Fighting Irish landed another quarterback when Demetrius Jones publically announced his decision to attend Notre Dame and became the eleventh known commit for Coach Weis. The 6'3", 195-lb signalcaller and second cousin of Chris Zorich will be the first Chicago public league player to play football for the Irish since fellow Morgan Park alumnus and current starting middle linebacker Corey Mays.

Jones selected the Irish over Illinois and Purdue, while also having a reported 45 offers to other colleges around the country. Jones' reputation would appear to be extremely high given his abundance of official scholarships, but it is interesting to check out the difference in his rankings on versus On Rivals, he is a Top 100 player, ranked as not only the #2 dual threat QB, but also the #52nd best recruit in the country. Meanwhile on Scout, he is an unranked 3-star guy. To round things out, Lemming considers him the 33rd best recruit in the country. (Then again, Lemming has never met a Chicago area recruit he wouldn't or couldn't overhype.)

In the end, though, where Jones falls on a Star Scale is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Jones had an excellent junior year (led his team to a 13-1 record, was all-state honorable mention as a junior), yet is still a relatively raw talent who could blossom under quality coaching in coaching. Under the tutelage of Weis and Peter Vaas, Jones should be in good hands. In fact, coaching seems to be a big reason why Jones is headed to South Bend.

"Notre Dame is the place for me,'' Jones said. "I prayed about it. The majority of things I was looking for are at Notre Dame. Coach [Charlie] Weis didn't talk like other recruiters. He is a motivator. Other NFL players told me that he will get the best out of me.''
Depending on which website you read, last season Jones passed for over 2,100 yards with anywhere from 17 to 25 passing touchdowns and 12 to 17 rushing touchdowns. Those are the kind of numbers that will get a "dual-threat" label stuck on a guy, which is often code for "he's a runningback playing quarterback." But based on scouting reports and grainy internet highlight videos, Jones definitely appears to be a quarterback first, and a runner second.

The big question now is how Notre Dame will manage with two very high profile quarterbacks in the same class. Both Zach Frazer and Jones are definitely going to want to be named the starter as soon as they can, and both see an opportunity to get some early playing time under the Dome. Yet because ND's depth at quarterback is rather shallow, Coach Weis doesn't exactly have the luxury of taking only one quarterback in this class and hoping that he pans out. So we'll take two top quarterbacks this year, and then deal with whatever issues may arise. Competition is always healthy, and Jones realizes he's going to have to fight for a starting spot.
"I was aware of [Zach] Frazer," Jones said. "There will be competition wherever you go. To be the best, you have to contend against good players. I don't mind doing that. I'm a warrior."
For those who want to check out Notre Dame's newest addition to a storied quarterback roster but don't have a subscription to BGI or IrishEyes, here are a few short video clips. This first one shows off some of his mobility in the pocket, not that it did him any good. Here's a quick one of him throwing a TD pass, and he has a few appearances in this team highlight video (he's #8).