AJC Super 11 wide receiver Tai-ler Jones switched his commitment from Stanford to Notre Dame.
The 6-foot, 185-pound senior gave Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis the word about 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon, not long after returning from an official visit to South Bend, Ind., over the weekend. That call was followed shortly by one to Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, who was none-too-happy about the news.
“It was very difficult to do,” said Jones, who has 36 catches for 640 yards and 11 touchdowns for the No. 1-ranked Red Elephants. “The schools were so close with my comparison. It’s hard to tell that coach and that staff that you’ve change your mind when you’ve stuck with them and been so close the last few months. But it’s just something I had to do.”
Jones said the camaraderie and “chemistry” of the Fighting Irish players and the academic and athletic traditions of the school were what swayed him. He was particularly moved by how the players lined up on the field and sang the school fight song along with the Notre Dame students just moments after an excruciating 34-27 loss to Southern Cal.
“Things like that showed me that regardless if they win or lose, they’re going to do that every game,” said Jones, who will enroll in January. “Tradition is more important than celebrating or sulking.”
Jones should know. This was actually his third trip to South Bend as a recruit. He’d been there before on an unofficial visit and for “junior day.” Oh, and his father, Andre Jones, played linebacker for Notre Dame.
Jones is still scheduled to make an official visit to Stanford on Nov. 7.
“I don’t know if I’m going to take it anymore,” said Jones, who said the Cardinal wants him to. “It might be a slap in the face to do that after decommitting. I’m still debating.”
No matter what, Jones said he’s going to stick with the Irish.
“I wouldn’t change schools again,” he said. “One change is enough. If I were to change again, people might start to doubt my loyalty.”
I asked Jones why he seemed to be intent on attending college so far from home.
“Academics are important to me,” he said. “Georgia Tech is a great degree but I don’t know that it’s a good fit for me. They wanted me to play wingback and I don’t think that’s the best thing for me. As far as Georgia goes, they just took a pretty long time to offer. But that gave me a chance to look around and get to know some of these other coaches and build relationships with them.”