Heard it From Hoard: Column 44
In light of today's decision regarding Ben Mauk, I thought it would be worthwhile to put this story online about one of his potential replacements. It was originally published in a recent edition of Bearcat Sports Digest and I've updated it to reflect today's news.
Like most Bearcat fans, I'm disappointed that Ben Mauk was not granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. But at the same time, I can't wait to see one of the leading candidates to succeed him as Cincinnati's starting quarterback.
Demetrius Jones, who transferred from Notre Dame in September, is arguably the most highly-touted prospect in Bearcat history. As a senior at Morgan Park H.S. in Chicago, Jones was named a Parade All-American and ranked 33rd on a list of the top 100 high school players in the country by USA Today. At Notre Dame, he was given the uniform #3, previously worn by Joe Montana, Rick Mirer, and Ron Powlus.
This past year, Demetrius was Notre Dame's starting quarterback in its season opener against Georgia Tech, but after the Irish lost to the Yellow Jackets, head coach Charlie Weis named freshman Jimmy Clausen his starting signal caller and Jones elected to seek a fresh start.
"It was real tough, but like the commercial says, 'life comes at you fast,' Jones told me recently. "I'm just a firm believer than everything happens for a reason. I've been following college football for a long time and I've never seen anybody lose a starting job in a quarter-and-a-half, so I think God had a purpose and I needed to re-evaluate things and decide on what I really wanted to do."
Because UC had no scholarships available, Jones had to pay his own way for the fall quarter.
"By me coming in and not being on scholarship for the first quarter, I really got to experience college life as a regular student," Jones said. "I hung out around campus more, had a few evenings to myself, and could see what the typical college kids do. It was more of a learning experience than anything."
Demetrius practiced briefly with the Bearcats last fall, before having a sore shoulder examined by Cincinnati's medical staff. A tear was discovered and Jones underwent surgery.
"I had to get three pins put in my shoulder and I was in a sling basically from when I got here all the way up until right before bowl practice," Jones said. "I haven't been cleared to throw yet, but I'm out of the sling and I'm lifting weights. I think it feels great."
While the current UC coaching staff didn't get to see much of Demetrius in practice, former head coach Rick Minter did while serving as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator in 2006.
"He redshirted so I faced him every day as our scout team quarterback." Minter said on a 1530 Homer talk show appearance. "Double-D as he's known is a great young man number one. Academically he's a very strong student and he's a student of the game. He's the Pied Piper, let me tell you, guys are gonna follow this kid. He attracts people like Velcro - people want to stick to him. This is the perfect offense for this young man. That's what Charlie tried to do that first game at Notre Dame, but his coaching staff doesn't really know the spread offense - that's not what they do. This is what Brian Kelly does and has done it as long as anybody can imagine. This guy right here could very well take 'em to the promised land athletically. I'm not trying to put him up there like Beano Cook did to Ron Powlus years ago and give him the Heisman, but I'm just saying this is the perfect fit for him. I think the city will learn to embrace this kid because he's got a magnetic personality and he's going to be very fun to watch. Brian will bring him along structurally very well as a thrower and he'll be adequate in the passing game, but this guy will be Vince Young-like in what he'll be able to do carrying the football in that spread offense."
Thanks go out to e-mailer Al Uhrig who wrote the following after my recent column about Cincinnati's chances of going to the NIT.
"If not the NIT maybe the brand spanking new 16-team College Basketball Invitational, which will compete against the NIT for teams. A total of 113 teams (65+32+16) will go to the postseason this year."
Al's correct, and I must admit I had never heard of the "CBI." Here's a link to more information: http://www.gazellegroup.com/cbi/index_main.htm
Finally, I got quite a few comments at the game last night about the photo of the handsome lad in his new Celtics jersey, so here's another one. Enjoy.
I'd love to hear from you. The address is email@example.com.