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Notre Dame player profile: TJ Jones

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Irish junior 'set tone' for new corps of receivers

Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 9:04 am

Each day this week, The News-Sentinel will profile a Notre Dame football player leading up to the BCS National Championship game in Miami Monday.

WHAT: No. 7 junior wide receiver

WHERE: Gainesville High School Roswell, Georgia

2012 STATS: Played in all 12 games (starting 10) and caught 43 receptions for 559 yards and four touchdowns.

THE SKINNY: Has emerged as Notre Dame's most dangerous wide receiver following the graduation of All-American Michael Floyd. Makes big catches when needed. Al but 10 of his receptions this year have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown. Not big, but gets open and will catch the ball reliably. Scored a critical touchdown to aid Fighting Irish rally against Pittsburgh.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHUCK MARTIN SAYS: "I think there's a little bit more just because everybody talks about why is that kid there? Is he there because he's a good player or because he's the son of a former great Notre Dame player? So you have that burden when you're a legacy kid, which is unfair. But I think they get it because they've been around it. Biggest thing from TJ is he's always been an excellent game player. His ball skills are ridiculous. It's hard to throw a ball he won't catch for you. He's a great route runner. He's super quick. He understands the game, he's tough. He has all the traits. He'd probably love to be 6'5", maybe a little bigger, but that's not how he is. The biggest thing he's really helped our team is how he practices. He's probably a little bit known as a gamer, and kind of prepared enough to get by. But him practicing not only made him a better player, but probably marginally better, because he's always played really good in games for us. But he really set the tone for a new receiving group, a young receiving group with Michael leaving a big void there. He's really set the tone as leadership for our offense how he practices every day, which is what we're most thankful for him because we knew he could play."