Here’s a little history lesson as to how Jonathon Jones and Matt Jones both ended up at Gannon.
Matt is older than Jonathon, but Matt was being recruited by several NCAA Division II schools. According to the Tampa Tribune, Jones was part of a 2008 recruiting class at Syracuse.
“We kind of knew he had some legitimate situations going on,” Gannon coach Jim Kiernan said. “That was going to be the direction.”
After that fell through, Matt went to a Milford Prep. According to the University of Buffalo website, Matt was part of Buffalo’s 2009 recruiting class coming out of Milford Prep.
“Didn’t work out for me,” said Matt Jones, who struggled getting his SAT scores. “I didn’t really know where I was to go next.”
During this time, Gannon was recruiting Jonathon. Seeing the process from afar regarding Matt Jones, Kiernan said he told them and his family that a spot would always be there for him at Gannon.
“Our thing was to let the family know that hey, if at any point, things didn’t go that way, whether they didn’t go that way right away, a year or two years later and that it wasn’t a good experience, then certainly the opportunity down here was going to be open,” Kiernan said.
From Kiernan’s viewpoint, he said Gannon gave the situation involving Matt Jones “space.”
“J.J. is the one that is a good fit for us and at the right level for us,” Kiernan said. “We focused all our attention there. Now we never missed an opportunity to let him know if things went down with Matt, we would always make sure we reiterated it even when he went to prep school. If that opportunity came along, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone.”
So when Matt was looking to play college ball, the younger brother, Jonathon, convinced him to come to Gannon.
“Our coaches really wanted to get him to come here,” Jonathon Jones said. “I just told him that I like it a lot. I think he’d like it. It’s far enough away from home, but it’s not that far so that our parents wanted to come see us play. When you combine all that and that he’d be able to play with me again, that’s what made him come here.”
Matt Jones said he was looking at Lindenwood (Mo.), Notre Dame College (Ohio) and a few other schools. In the end, Kiernan said Matt Jones called him about coming there.
“In that scenario right there, the best thing we could have done is give Matt space, but let the family know, hey, sometimes these things don’t go that way,” Kiernan said.
The idea of Matt and Jonathon reuniting worked in Gannon’s favor. The two helped Aquinas win a state championship in football.
“At first, he really didn’t want to come here,” Jonathon Jones said. “But then I was like, ‘You might as well come here. We can room together after you get out the dorms and stuff and we can play together. Why not?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’”
Finishing their junior season this year, Matt Jones said being with Jonathon at Gannon is like old times.
“I enjoy it,” Matt Jones said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Jonathon Jones came to Gannon in 2008 and played as a true freshman. He had one catch for 15 yards. That following spring, he remembers Gannon defensive coordinator Brad Rzyczycki talking to him about his brother, Matt.
“He would say, ‘How’s your brother doing?’ Jonathon Jones said. “‘How is he doing today?’ Every day he was talking to me.”
Matt Jones came in 2009. As a true freshman, he had 31 tackles, 5.5 stops for loss. The following season, he was a second-team All-PSAC West pick with 49 total tackles with 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Gannon senior defensive tackle Randy Colling said he can see how Matt and Jonathon are brothers because they are constantly on each other.
Matt Jones clarified this situation.
“It’s usually one sided,” Matt Jones said laughing. “It’s usually me getting on him. Being the older brother, I feel like I’m a little more mature and sometimes I like to keep him straight. It’s a love thing. That’s what big brothers do.”
A perfect example of that came this season. Jonathon Jones missed the 2010 season due to academics. He went back home to get his academics in order to return for the 2011 season.
Since Jonathon Jones has returned, Matt Jones has been in his ear.
“He’s really been on my case of not repeating my mistakes,” Jones said. “He gets on me, but it’s all love.”