Notre Dame wide receiver T.J Jones has a special connection to the last Irish team that went on to win a national championship.
Jones’ late father Andre was a starter in 1988 as well as a great student-athlete. About a year and a half ago Andre passed away. In talking to T.J it is clear that he realizes the legacy that has been left for him, but he is also prepared to carve out his own niche.
Preparing for the national championship has made Jones a bit nostalgic, “It has definitely helped me reminisce about what we used to talk about and the times we used to have, but in terms of healing, only time I guess.”
There are moments from the 2012 season that have definitely stood out for Jones, moments he said he wishes he could have shared with his dad.
Catching the game winning pass against Stanford is one, “we always talked about making a game winning catch. Having a game winning catch in any game is what you grow up practicing whether it’s in the street or flag football.”
“And definitely after we won the USC game and knowing we were going to the national championship” Jones says in another, “That’s something I wish I could’ve called him, and just talk for hours about what we were going to do, how crazy it was that we were both going to be in a national championship. Really just celebrate those moments with him.”
Notre Dame will try to ride the momentum of Jones’ legacy in Monday’s game. T.J says despite his father’s physical presence at the game, he still feels like his father has not completely left him
“I feel like he’s watching over me, he’s watching over Notre Dame and my family as well.”
Andre Jones contributed to the 1988 victory, but he sat out the next season’s bowl game despite starting for the team all season.
Andre had a Russian final to prepare for and Coach Lou Holtz said school comes before football-- so Andre stayed behind and studied, and got an A on his exam.