Jones stays at home, signs letter of intent with Dragons

PHOTO BY ZACH BAKER Calvert’s Austin Jones (center) signs a letter of intent Thursday to play football at Tiffin University. Joining him are, from left, his sister Ashlyn, his father Jimmy, his mother Kristi and Senecas’ coach Steve Reser.

For the last two seasons, Calvert tailback Austin Jones used the field at Frost-Kalnow Stadium as his personal playground.

He humbled defenses and helped push the Senecas to back-to-back playoff appearances.

Some things figure to change when Jones embarks on his collegiate career.

But the field — and the city — will stay the same.

Jones signed a letter of intent Thursday to play football at Tiffin University. He’s one of 22 players who signed with TU this week, and the only tailback in the class.

Jones said remaining in town appealed to him.

“Just staying at home, and I really like the football team,” he said. “They’ve done good the past couple years, up and coming.”

The Dragons are coming off three consecutive winning seasons. Tiffin University’s interim coach, Seth Duerr, said Jones impressed the TU staff.

“The physicality of him, with his size and his speed,” Duerr said. “He’s a tall guy that runs very well. Those were the things that stood out to our staff.”

But Duerr said their were other reasons TU liked Jones.

“Getting to know him a little bit, and feeling like this guy would be a great fit for us,” he said. “We get the opportunity to keep a local guy here that was excited about TU. That was appealing to us.”

Jones emerged for Calvert in the 2017 season, when the junior averaged nearly nine yards a carry, scored 29 touchdowns, and came up just shy of 2,000 yards.

Jones was a first-team all-Ohio selection that year. It was after the 2017 season that then-Calvert coach Todd Fox resigned, and was replaced by Steve Reser.

“I was fortunate enough to come into the program this year, when Austin had already had a great junior year,” Reser said. “A lot of his achievements from the past were outstanding. He had already put a lot of time and hard work into the sport, through his dedication. So, I was basically fortunate enough to watch him get even better this year. He’s one of the best runners I’ve seen. Obviously, he’s got great speed. In between the tackles, he’s a tough runner, does a great job. And if you let him get outside the tackles, it’s an issue for defenses.”

Jones again excelled in ’18. The 6-foot-2, 195 pounder was a second team all-Ohio choice, rushing for 1,367 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also had 143 yards receiving and caught a TD pass.

Jones said he hopes he can make a quick contribution to the Dragons.

“I hope to see the field my freshman year,” he said. “Maybe not offense, but like, special teams, and slowly work my way into the offense, and try to be a starter in upcoming years.”

Jones was asked what he hopes to get out of the college football experience.

“Just overall have fun,” he said, “and continue playing football. What I love doing.”