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Calvinaugh Jones finds stability at D-II Concord after numerous housing relocations

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 24, 2015 at 9:14 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Calvinaugh Jones stepped out of the car he’d been in for 16 hours and dropped his duffel full of clothes onto the curb.He and his brother-in-law, Eric Jackson, had left West Virginia at 2 a.m. and driven to Dallas, Jones’ new home for the next 12 weeks.Jones shook hands with Clode Tatum, Jackson’s old army buddy, and walked into the house. Jones swapped chores and paid rent for the opportunity to train alongside established NFL running backs at the Michael Johnson Performance Center in McKinney, Texas.Jones, a senior at Division II Concord University in Athens, West Virginia, is coming off a first-team All-American season in 2014 when he rushed for 1,734 yards. At the end of the season, he decided to move from Maryland to Texas in hopes of becoming better, maybe NFL material, and he took the lessons from his childhood with him. This season, Jones has 208 all-purpose yards in three games. Jones never lived in one place longer than two years, which made finding friends difficult but focusing on football easier. While Texas felt foreign, the journey was familiar.“When he got out of school when he was younger, we just packed up and moved,” his mother Regina Jones said. “I was like a gypsy mom.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJones moved 12 times before high school, mostly within Wisconsin and Minnesota. As a seventh grader in Minnesota, Jones ran well in a rec league and coaches from a local powerhouse high school program noticed. Jones imagined success there, but was disappointed when the family moved again.His father, Calvin Jones, inherited a house in Macon, Georgia after Calvinaugh’s grandmother died. The Jones’ arrived too late for Calvinaugh to start football. When the family miscalculated how much the house would cost, they sold it and moved again. He began his high school career in Maryland and became an all-conference running back.“I keep moving, but football is my constant,” Jones said.Jones escaped loneliness in Texas through football. He trained five days per week, usually 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., working on upper body two days, lower body two days and taking a lighter day with yoga. He played in seven-on-sevens late Monday nights with Ronnie Braxton, who also trains NFL Pro Bowlers.He had one friend from Concord he saw occasionally. He learned independence and that people would come in and out of his life when he moved so much, he said. In seventh grade, when a friend started smoking marijuana, Jones disassociated himself, Calvin Jones said, because he didn’t want to hurt his chances with football.“I have good friends, but I wouldn’t say I made lifelong friends because of the moving,” Jones said. “It helped me a little (not to be close with anyone) because I just focused on football.”Jones didn’t know many people in Texas, but he knew the men ahead of him in running back drills at the performance center. Jones watched how NFL players like Darren McFadden, Jerry Hughes and Knile Davis trained. How Ameer Abdullah pumped his arms even while running slow and how he kept his feet shoulder-width for balance and quick cuts. Jones, who wanted to improve his pass-catching, took note of how quickly the NFL guys turned their heads after completing a route.Jones was the only collegiate player to line up for reps with pros, his trainer Drew Cuffee said. Players from Baylor and Football Championship Series schools also trained there. Cuffee praised Jones’ receptiveness and consistency. Jones didn’t miss one work out all summer.When Jackson returned to Texas, he noticed defined biceps, thicker legs and bulkier shoulders. Jones’ body fat slimmed from 12 percent to seven.Jones knows the NFL is a longshot, especially for a Division II athlete. However, Cuffee, a former Division II defensive back at Abilene Christian, had five teammates make the NFL, one of whom started 128 games in an eight-year career.“I can see the difference between NFL talent and not NFL talent,” Cuffee said. “(Jones) has the potential to get there. He’s put himself in a position.”This spring, Jones will try to turn pro, but his success is far from guaranteed.Only one thing is for sure. If a professional chance presents itself, no matter where it is, he’ll take it.He won’t mind moving. Commentslast_img read more