Julius Jones was born in Big Stone Gap, Virginia in the heart of coal country. He came from a family of seven and his father was a corrections officer who insisted that his children read the front page of this newspaper each day before they could look at the sports section. Jones’s mother worked the graveyard shift for 20 years in the coal mines.
In high school Julius was an all-sport star and with him on the football field, his team won 28 straight games and 2 state titles. He posted stellar career numbers, that included 5,803 yards rushing and 86 touchdowns.
Bob Davie recruited the 5-10 205 lb. runner to South Bend in 1999 and he started showing big play capabilities right away. In his Freshman season against Boston College, he had an electrifying 67-yard punt return TD. He continued that trend as a sophomore with a 100-yard kickoff return TD against Nebraska. He went on to lead the Irish in rushing that year, a feat he repeated as a Junior in 2001.
Jones saved the best for his senior year when he totaled 1321 yards from scrimmage, scored 10 touchdowns and had three 200-yard games. Against Pittsburgh that year he set the all-time school single game record with 264 yards rushing on 24 carries. Ironically Jones didn’t even start the game! The starter Ryan Grant had 26 carries himself that day.
After his senior season Jones was voted as the team’s most valuable player.
The following April, Jones was the top draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys and went on to a solid 7-year NFL career that included 1000-yard efforts in 2005 and 2006.
Julius Jones was an explosive, record setting running back for the Irish from 1999 to 2003, and he is an All-Time Irish Hero.