Previous Penn State receiver TJ Jones affirmed his next college football destination on Monday evening, reporting a pledge to the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He previously went through two seasons with the Nittany Lions before entering the NCAA transfer portal in January.
Thought about a three-star ability and the No. 72 receiver in 247Sports’ 2019 composite prospect rankings, Jones featured at Columbia (Lake City, Fla.) High School and utilized a late official visit to Penn State prior to signing with the Nittany Lions in February 2019. He selected four months after the fact.
Jones was one of two scholarship rookie increments at receiver for the Nittany Lions that year, alongside individual Florida product John Dunmore. Neither stays on campus, as Dunmore left the team shortly before 2020 kickoff and is required to continue his career at Florida Atlantic.
Jones will join a UAB squad that contends in Conference USA. The Blazers completed 6-3 last season.
The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Jones was listed as a starter on Penn State’s official spring profundity in April 2020, however the program didn’t lead a single practice until four months after the fact. Subsequent to showing up in one contest and supporting redshirt status the fall previously, Jones ultimately stayed a hold alternative and saw snaps in seven 2020 matchups.
“TJ Jones, he is a big-play potential kind of guy,” Nittany Lions receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield said in October. “We’ve talked with him about the consistency and his ability to be consistent. I’m excited about him. He’s another guy that has some speed to him. He has some size and catches the ball fairly well. So those are some of the things that I’ve seen from him.”
Jones finished his time in State College without recording a reception. Because of the 2020 NCAA pause on collegiate eligibility, the 21-year-old Jones holds freshman status as he leaves on a fresh start in Birmingham.
Penn State returns beginning receivers Jahan Dotson, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, and Parker Washington, while veterans Cam Sullivan-Brown and Daniel George give experience and three individuals from the 2020 recruiting class — Norval Black, Jaden Dottin and Malick Meiga — are hoping to gather momentum during their first collegiate spring camp.
Stubblefield is the first Penn State receivers coach to return for a back to back year since 2017. The group acquires a lift this mid year when a triplet of four-star 2021 signees enlist: Liam Clifford, Harrison Wallace and Lonnie White.
“(It’s) a little bit different than what happened last year, where it was like everybody was unknown,” Stubblefield said. “Right now, we have a couple known guys. … So we definitely want to have some more depth. It’s going to be exciting to continue to see these guys grow and get better. And so that when somebody else does come in the game, that there’s not a big drop off, or there is no drop off. That’s the goal.”