Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 49 of 127

BY LOU SOMOGYI T he official job title for Alizé Jones in 2016 is still listed as "tight end." Nevertheless, this spring the sophomore displayed there is no "boundary" on what he can do in Notre Dame's offense. As a freshman tight end last sea- son, Jones caught 13 passes for 190 yards, while the rest of the five-man scholarship crew at the position com- bined for seven receptions and 43 receiving yards. One of them is now elsewhere: Chase Hounshell, who is using his sixth season at Ohio State. Two others — senior Durham Smythe, who missed most of 2015 with knee and shoulder surgeries, and junior Nic Weishar, sidelined the final week this spring with a high ankle sprain — are expected to have prominent roles. Also back is junior Tyler Luatua, who announced this winter he was transferring to BYU in the summer — only to reverse course in May and decide to stay at Notre Dame. Added to the unit this spring was 275-pound former defensive lineman Jacob Matuska, who likely will join Luatua in the in-line blocking role that the latter shared with Hounshell last season. Consequently, with so many niches/ roles at tight end, head coach Brian Kelly and the staff decided that Jones' talents as a pass catcher can't be pi- geonholed at only one position, even though he was the USA Today first- team All-American tight end in 2014 and rated as the nation's No. 2 tight end by Rivals (No. 70 player overall). "He can't be a guy who's in a rota- tion as the third tight end on the field," Kelly said. "That's pretty clear." One solution has been to place him on occasion on the boundary side of the field (known as the W), where he has the shorter side of the hash marks to navigate through and could often face press coverage from cornerbacks. At a listed 6-4½, 240 pounds — Jones said he's more like 233 — his combi- nation of size, speed, separation and playmaking skills make sense there or at other receiving spots on offense. The W position graduated Chris Brown, and senior Corey Robinson is pondering whether to continue his football career after missing spring drills with concussion issues that have been evaluated by a specialist. "I really, really, really like playing Prize Catch Tight end Alizé Jones is a versatile weapon in Notre Dame's passing attack

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