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q&a charley jones, loyola, football

Senior thankful for family, friends, opportunities at Loyola

November 27, 2008|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

Loyola linebacker-tight end Charley Jones has had a hectic senior year, and the highlight for his undefeated and No. 2 Dons comes this morning, when they play Calvert Hall in the annual Turkey Bowl at M&T Bank Stadium.

Jones, 6 feet 1, 195 pounds, is second on the team in tackles with 82 and has 101 receiving yards. After his parents moved to Houston for his father's job last summer, Jones remained behind, living with teammate Shannon Klein's family. His parents and brother Danny, a freshman at the University of Tampa, will be in town today to watch the Turkey Bowl and join the Kleins for a turkey feast. Jones, 18, has a 3.2 grade-point average and is considering a career in marketing or business management.

Which do you like better, offense or defense?

I think of myself as a defensive player. I love defense. I like to hit. After you make a big tackle, it just feels exhilarating. It's a great feeling, the best feeling in the world.

What are you looking for in those few seconds before you make the hit?

Coach has built up a lot of tendencies for us, so before the snap, we kind of think where the play's going to go. We see where the hole forms and we just kind of fill it. I know Matt Heacock - he's the other linebacker - does a really good job. If I fill the hole, he's going to come and make the tackle or if he fills the hole, I'm going to make the tackle.

What does the Turkey Bowl, the Calvert Hall game, mean to you?

They're our rival, and it's the biggest game of the year. If we don't win this game, we get a share of the [Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference] title, and we want that undefeated season.

What's the feeling when you get on the field on Thanksgiving Day?

It's a special time. You get so pumped up for the Turkey Bowl. This is my third year on the team. I didn't play [in the game] last year or the year before, and I was really pumped up. I can only imagine what it will be like this year. It's always an exhilarating game.

When you play Calvert Hall, with such a rivalry, do records mean much?

You have to be careful because they're going to be pumped up. That's their goal. They're going to try to knock us out so hard. We're undefeated, and they're going to be gunning for us. Records don't usually matter in this kind of game.

How do you stay focused in such a hyped game?

There's going to be so many distractions with the fans and everything that we have to stay focused like we've done all season and just do our best. It all starts in practice. We've got to stay focused in practice and prepare hard so when we get to the game, we know we're ready.

What is the Peer Education Program you're involved with at Loyola?

We talk to younger students about making good choices in life, giving them talks on alcohol, drugs and making good choices. It's a really nice program. This is my first year, and we haven't talked to them yet, but I'm excited about it.

Did that talk make an impression on you as a freshman?

It did. That's why I was excited when they told me I was going to be part of the team this year. I remember listening to them, and I took in what they said. It definitely affected some of the choices I've made.

How did you feel when you found out your family would be moving to Texas?

I was planning to move with them, but when spring came around, I decided I wanted to stay here for my senior year. Loyola's such a great school, I couldn't imagine myself leaving this place.

How did the arrangement with the Kleins come about?

I've known Shannon since fifth grade, and so we've been friends since then. My mom and dad are close with his mom and dad, so we've been family friends.

You said it was tough on your parents, but how was it for you?

It was tough at first, but it's definitely a different lifestyle. I was used to living with my parents, and the Kleins, they're a lot different family. They have eight kids, so I've kind of just blended in there [laughs], but it's been so much fun living with them. It's a little more hectic, but it's still a lot of fun. I do miss my parents, though.

Besides the Turkey Bowl, what does Thanksgiving mean to you?

You have to give thanks for everything you have. I guess I can be thankful for a lot of things now. My parents being so generous for letting me stay here, and I'm thankful to the Kleins for taking me in and just about everything this school's given back to me. Also looking forward to eating. Turkey. Mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes. Green bean casserole. We've got everything.

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