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Jones shows growth in soph. year at ND

Henrietta, N.Y. -- Former Aquinas football star Jarron Jones took a big leap in his second year at the University of Notre Dame.

The sophomore played in 12 games, starting one for the Irish, who finished the season 9-4 and ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press poll. 

Its all about growth, he said. Growth in the classroom, growth on and off the field, just growing up in general.

After not playing as a freshman to preserve a year of eligibility, Jones tallied 20 tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and two blocked kicks, including a game-sealing blocked field goal in a 23-13 win against BYU.

He said hes grateful to finally have his chance to shine after watching Notre Dames undefeated 2012 regular season from the sideline.

I thought playing in front of that many people was going to be very nerve-racking, but its just like playing a high school game, Jones said. Yeah, the people are bigger, everythings faster, but it just provides a sense of escape in the football game -- heat of the moment, adrenalines rushing. Its just a lot of fun. All you can do is be thankful for having such an opportunity.

Jones played on the defensive line alongside projected first-round NFL draft picks Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt.

He said hed love to have his own shot at the NFL in a few years, but is keeping education as his top priority.

If its there, Im obviously going to take it, Jones said. Obviously, I just want to be able to have a secure lifestyle. Thats all I want. I just want to be able to be like my mom and dad who provide for the family. Thats all I want is to be able to live a great life. Getting paid to do something you love, it cant get any better than that, but the thing I want most is my degree. I feel like thats why I chose Notre Dame -- to get a degree so I could be set for life.

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Washington Times