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Jones ready to contribute

SOUTH BEND – Jarron Jones wasn't ready to contribute to Notre Dame's defense last season.

But after a year in the program, defensive line coach Mike Elston said the 6-foot-5, 295-pound sophomore, who didn't play as a freshman, appears ready to help this season.

"Jarron is starting to play like a freshman in college," Elston said after the Irish's ninth spring practice Monday. "He's still a freshman in college. He was playing like a high school senior a year ago, in terms of his immaturity, his lack of aggressiveness. He's got this great big body, and he's starting to throw that around and be more of an aggressive player. He wasn't a soft player. He just wasn't as aggressive as we needed him to be. That aggressiveness has allowed him to move his game forward."

Elston said Jones was held back last year because the Rochester, N.Y., native wasn't ready for how competitive it was to play on the college level where players could match his size and strength.

"Jaron in high school just overwhelmed everybody by size," Elston said. "He didn't have to be a physical, nasty … you take Sheldon Day. Sheldon Day played in a great conference at Warren Central High School with the biggest school in the state of Indiana, and he played against other big, big schools and great players. He was ready for that competitiveness.

"Jarron was not necessarily ready for that next level competitiveness. It wasn't because he was soft, he just wasn't quite ready for that mentally. Now, he's gotten his game ready for that mentally. It is not something you see in high school, because he is out there taking little guys and just tossing them. You know, 'You're in my way. Get out of the way,' and go and tackle the guy. He's done a really nice job of that, and he's going to factor in for sure in the fall."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.