For TCU fans, the era before Dennis Franchione and Gary Patterson’s arrival in 1998 are memories that aren’t easily forgotten; no matter how hard they try. Simply put, the Frogs didn’t enjoy much success for many years before the two arrived, including a one-win season in 1997 under Pat Sullivan.
Fast forward to sixteen years later and TCU is now regarded as a perennial top 25 team that’s played in two BCS games thanks to the resurrection job done by Patterson and his coaches.
While the seasons before Patterson’s arrival weren’t filled with great memories of winning records, some of the players from those teams are still held in high regard and remembered as great players. Among those players is Lenoy Jones, who was a four-year letterman for the Frogs from ’92-’95. Jones was regarded as one of Sullivan’s top recruits from the 1992 class and he didn’t disappoint as he made an immediate impact as a true freshman garnering Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year honors.
By the end of his four-year TCU career, Jones finished among the all-time leaders in school history with 379 tackles while picking up SWC honors. He would go on to enjoy a successful seven year career in the NFL for the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns.
Now that Jones has been reintroduced to TCU fans, why is there sudden discussion about the former linebacker? Well, it just so happens that his son, Lenoy Jones Jr., is regarded as one of the rising linebacker prospects in Texas for the 2015 class.
The junior out of Waco Midway, where the elder Jones coaches, has been a tackling machine in each of his first two seasons on the varsity for the Panthers. He started as a sophomore at outside linebacker but made the move inside his junior season. The move resulted in a great season for Jones who led the team with 162 tackles, 3 sacks and 3 pass breakups while helping the Panthers to a 9-3 record in 2013. For his efforts, Jones was named Honorable Mention All-State linebacker in Class 4A.
At 6-foot-1, 210-pounds, Jones admits he’s not the fastest player on the field. However, one view of his highlights and those watching Jones will quickly notice his ability to always be around the ball.
While speed may be a question, he’s proving any doubters wrong with his ability to continually make plays. Just recently at the Army All-American Combine, Jones was regarded as one of the top prospects out of over 600 participants.
“I did pretty well, I made all-team defense at the combine,” he said. “I got my name out there myself so I think that will help get me some notice.”
A few teams have already taken notice of Jones. Among those programs are Baylor, Texas State, Louisiana Tech and of course, TCU.
“The Baylor coach told my dad that they were going to give me a really hard look and I’ve talked to a Texas State coach,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of interest from big time schools, just some small interest here and there.”
Jones already has a good familiarity with TCU’s program, having attended three games in 2013 including the season finale against Baylor. He’s also built a good relationship with Frogs’ cornerbacks coach Clay Jennings throughout the process.
On Thursday night, TCU offered two of Jones’ Midway teammates; Devontre Strickland and Kahlil Haughton. Jones is scheduled to call Jennings soon and he hopes to hear good news from the coach as well.
“I’ve been talking to him for a while; he came up to the school a little over a month ago and invited me to some junior days,” Jones said of his conversations with Jennings. “My head coach told me to call him. I hope he tells me I’m one of their top linebackers for the 2015 class; I’m hoping it’s something like that; some good news like that.”
Jones relies on the advice from his father when it comes to football and recruiting. As for TCU, the two have had plenty to talk about the program, especially the changes that have taken place since Lenoy Sr. played there twenty years ago.
Lenoy Sr. had 379 tackles in his TCU career
“He said it’s a good place to go, he said they didn’t have anything like the indoor facility. He had to walk two miles just to go to practice,” Jones said of his father’s memories of TCU. “He said everything has changed, but it’s a good school to go to and a good football team.”
Jones said a TCU offer would definitely give him “a lot to think about” if the Frogs do indeed extend an offer during his recruitment. He admits ever since he can remember that it’s been a dream of his to one day break his dad’s tackle number at TCU; even if it is just for a little family bragging rights.
“It would be great, because my dad is fourth all-time at TCU in tackles and I always dreamed about beating his tackles and be able to talk a little smack to him,” Jones finished.