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Demetrius Jones regrets leaving Notre Dame

Former Notre Dame beat writer and current Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh caught up with former Chicago prep star, former Notre Dame quarterback, former Cincinnati outside linebacker, and current Central State University jack-of-all-trades Demetrius Jones, who is still chasing his dream of making it to the NFL.

Even if he doesn’t, he’ll at least have a book about it.

Demetrius Jones already knows the working title to his book that began as a diary the emotional night his mom dropped him off for college the summer of 2006.

“That’s where everything started to change with my transfer so I’m going to call it, ‘How Notre Dame Changed My Life,’ '' Jones said on the phone. “I have all but the last four chapters done.’'

He spends his days tirelessly trying to craft a happy ending to his football story.

Jones’ latest plot twist unfolds in the unlikeliest of settings on the campus of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, about 20 miles east of Dayton. The former Morgan Park star who started at quarterback for Notre Dame in the 2007 season-opener and at outside linebacker for unbeaten Cincinnati in 2009 now plays tight end and wide receiver for the Division II Marauders.

I’ve written about Jones before, and how unwise his choice to pick up and leave Notre Dame after he lost the starting quarterback job to Jimmy Clausen. To Jones’ credit, it seems like he understands the immature decisions he’s made in the past, and is trying to salvage something from a football career that’s likely ticking down to his last few games.

Jones still has high respect for former head coach Brian Kelly, who took in the transfer student at Cincinnati. Jones called Kelly “a father figure who’s a man of character and will get through his rough time.”

“I’m going to reach my potential,” Jones said, who is considering a petition to the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility after sitting out the better part of three seasons between redshirts, transfers and shoulder injuries. “My only regret is I didn’t stay at Notre dame. If I had stayed and played multiple positions like I went on to do, I’d be playing on Sundays right now. But that’s OK, I’m going to get there one day.”