Jones to play football this fall
By ANDREW SOUKUP
Julius Jones has been academically cleared by the University and will return to play football for the Irish in the fall, his father said Tuesday.
Jones, who had been dismissed by the University last summer for unspecified academic reasons, had been living with his brother Thomas -- a running back with the Arizona Cardinals -- and taking classes at Arizona State to become
academically qualified to return to Notre Dame.
"They worked together like they did when they were here at the house," Jones' father, Thomas Jones, told the Associated Press. "In a lot of ways that has been a good therapy for Julius. They have complemented each other well by being there for each other."
Jones, who has one year of eligibility remaining, was notified he was reinstated by a letter from the University he recieved last week, his father told the AP, adding that his son plans to attend summer school.
Whether Jones would return to the Irish after a year away from the team was one of the hottest topics in the spring. Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said he would welcome Jones back if he was academically reinstated, and the two shook hands and talked for a few minutes on the field of Notre Dame Stadium after the Blue-Gold game in April.
Jones could not be reached for comment. In an ESPN interview earlier this spring -- the only time Jones has spoken publicly since his dismissal -- Jones indicated he
wanted to return to Notre Dame and that he was a more mature person than when he left.
In his first three seasons with the Irish, Jones ran for 1,750 yards -- an average of 4.3 yards a carry -- and 19 touchdowns. He also tallied 1,435 kick return yards,
just 178 behind school-record holder Tim Brown.
Jones split backfield duties with other running backs in his first three years, and he may have to do the same in the fall. He'll compete with junior Ryan Grant, who
became the seventh Notre Dame back to break the 1,000-yard rushing barrier last fall but lacked the explosive speed Jones displayed early in his career.
Senior Vontez Duff is expected to split kick return duties with Jones in the fall.
All Sports Stories for Friday, July 11, 2003