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A day in the life of Chris Jones
At any one time Chris Jones has several challenging jobs to fill.
As a pre-exercise science major, Jones takes 12 to 15 credits a semester in classes that include nutrition, physiology and anatomy. As a star football player for the Falcons, Jones spends up to 20 hours each week practicing, training and watching films. And as a regular college student he tries to find the right balance and manage to have some fun along the way.
But Jones, a 21-year-old junior from Brownsburg, IN, is used to this life. In fact, the standout nose guard has learned the balancing act between student and athlete can be complicated and busy, but rarely boring.
“Chris came to Bowling Green with a unique maturity level and an understanding of the demands and sacrifices it takes to be a successful college athlete,” said Head Coach Dave Clawson. “Chris has an incredible work-ethic that, when combined with his natural talent, makes him a special player and person for our football program at Bowling Green. We are very fortunate to have someone with Chris’ character and ability in our program.”
During the season, Jones’ day begins pretty early for a college student — the alarm goes off at 6 a.m. at the house he shares with three teammates. Instead of an 8 a.m. class, it is a 7 a.m. football practice. After team meetings, where the last game might be reviewed or future strategies discussed, Jones heads to the field for an hour or two. After practice, it’s off to class and studying.
While his schedule can be demanding, Jones has a clear view of his priorities. If a class or exam is scheduled during football time, football must yield. The team hosts study tables in the meeting room, where players can get extra help if desired, and coaches will allow players to come to practices late if necessary.
“Before anything we’re all students,” said Jones. “The coaches say take care of your schoolwork first.” It’s no wonder, then, that BGSU’s student-athletes consistently excel in the classroom, earning repeated accolades and setting a new record with an overall GPA of 3.08.
When his academic day is done, football invariably pulls Jones back. Four days a week the team eats together — as much for companionship as for nutrition accountability. Jones also lifts weights and reviews films on his own. If he’s feeling particularly sore or beaten up from that day’s practice, he will see the team trainers to ease any aches. He usually tries to be in bed by 10:30 p.m., which is pretty easy to do after both his mind and body have been through tough workouts.
Sometimes, Jones has an hour or two to himself. Football may be a big thing in his life, but it isn’t the only thing. He tries to enjoy life as a regular college student when he can.
“The day after a Saturday game, I just try to chill,” he said. “Usually I’ll study a little bit, watch TV or go out with the guys to get a bite. We’ll just do some of the most random things.”
The ability to balance school and sport is something every student athlete needs to learn, according to Jones. “I definitely had to learn time management, especially my freshman year,” he said. “When you are in your first semester you are pretty much engulfed with this stuff and you need to think it through.”
There really isn’t an off-season. While the total time devoted to team activities is governed by the NCAA, players will often work on their own. Between spring football and training camps, Jones might still spend several hours a day honing his skills. Like any top athlete, he trains year-round to keep his body in top physical condition.
It all contributes to a distinguished college football career. In 2011 he was named First-Team All-MAC, twice named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week, and started all 12 games of the season.
“Some people might consider it a job, but it’s something I enjoy doing,” said Jones. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I try to enjoy it.”