Remember the Name: Tony Jones Jr.By Claire Kramer
Remember the name.
Tony Jones Jr. shares a moniker with his father; that much is obvious.
And in a conversation not long before the Irish migrated to Orlando for the 2019 Camping World Bowl, the younger Jones shared a resolution with his namesake for his final days of the season.
“To be honest, when I talked to my dad, I wanted to leave my mark here,” Jones expressed after the Irish rolled to a 33-9 win over the Cyclones of Iowa State.
In a day characterized by a balanced offensive attack and outstanding defensive stops, the performance was punctuated by Jones Jr. himself, breaking free for an 84-yard touchdown run on Notre Dame’s first offensive play of the second half, dragging Cyclone defenders with him, one for 15 yards.
The run shattered the record for longest run in the Camping World Bowl’s existence and set the Notre Dame mark for longest run in a bowl game. And, about leaving his mark?
“I guess I did with that!” Jones Jr. laughed.
Perhaps in an unexpected way, Jones Jr. and the Irish game plan took advantage of the opportunities they were given.
“He’s been talked about as a guy that doesn’t have the ability to take you over the top, but you saw him today break down the sideline and have the longest run in Notre Dame bowl history,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly explained after the game. “But, [Jones Jr.] doesn’t really care about that stuff. He was just excited about the ability to run the ball today effectively, and he ran physically and did what he normally does: help us win.”
After the confetti flew and Notre Dame, Our Mother rang through Camping World Stadium, Jones Jr. remained on the field, taking photos with his teammates and fans, signing autographs and congratulating his fellow Irish.
“It was a great way to end the season, just fighting throughout the season with our ups and downs and finally getting it all together and finishing the game,” he expressed as he walked towards the tunnel, already surrounded by a crowd of fans calling his name.
And, although his time with this specific group of players has come to an end, he shared the satisfaction in what was left behind by the senior class.
“Our class is really close, because we went through that 4-8 season,” Jones Jr. remembered. “[We were] just trying to build up, and now it’s the cherry on top of our class changing the culture around here and showing it.
“Now, it’s just going to lead on to the next classes.”
Lead on it will, as the Irish finish one of the most successful spans in program history, winning 33 games in three seasons, the highest win total since Notre Dame did the same from 1988-90. Improvement and growth will always be a goal, but Tony Jones Jr. can be assured that his name will live on in Irish minds.