All we knew about Demetrius Jones’s sudden departure from Notre Dame was that when the bus left South Bend at 2:30 PM on Friday, Jones wasn’t there and no one knew where he was. According to the ABC announcers yesterday, Weis asked sophomore receiver George West, Jones’s closest friend on the team, if he knew where Jones, but West was not sure.
A day later, a few details are emerging but there are still plenty of questions remaining about just when Jones decided to transfer to Northern Illinois and what if any contact he had with anyone associated with the NIU program.
According to the Chicago Sun times, it’s possible that Jones was enrolled at NIU as early as September 4…
A source close to the NIU program said he was told that Jones enrolled at the school on Sept. 4 — the same day Clausen was named the Irish starter. A Demetrius Armond Jones of Chicago is listed in NIU’s online student directory.
By enrolling by this past Wednesday — the 12th day of classes at NIU — Jones can count this fall toward the year he must sit out as a transfer. He then would have three more years of eligibility beginning in 2008 because he did not play as a freshman at Notre Dame.
… and NIU head coach Joe Novack doesn’t know anything about Jones’s intentions at NIU…
NIU coach Joe Novak couldn’t shed much light on the Jones reports at his postgame news conference.
”I can tell you this, I’ve heard a lot of rumors,” he said. ”I’ve heard a lot of stuff. All I can tell you is I have had absolutely no contact with him, his family or any representatives of [his family], nor have our coaches. So I’ve listened to the same rumors everybody else is. That’s all I know.'”
Player reaction to the news of Jones leaving seems fairly scripted for now.
Tom Zbikowski from the South Bend Tribune:
“Obviously it’s disappointing that somebody that’s on your team (has left),” Irish senior and captain Tom Zbikowski said. “But if you’re not going to be behind us 100 percent, it’s best that you not be on this team.”
Anthony Vernaglia and Evan Sharpley from the Sun Times:
“He made his decision and ran with it and it’s on him,” Sharpley said.
Said linebacker Anthony Vernaglia: ”Obviously, it’s disappointing. But if you’re not going to be behind us 100 percent, we don’t want you on the team.”
If it is true that Jones enrolled at NIU on September 4, what was he doing practicing for the Irish this week? One also has to wonder who was supposed to be under center when the Irish came out and ran some spread plays on the first drive of the Michigan game? Granted Jones isn’t two feet taller than Armando Allen so Sully’s snap would have still sailed over Jones’s head as well, but if that package was intended for Jones, what was he thinking leaving his teammates high and dry waiting for him on the bus?
A lot of this is speculation at this point, but all of these questions loom pretty large and depending on their answers, one has to wonder what this entire mess is doing to the psyche of an already beaten down, inexperienced team.