UT ROCKET FOOTBALL

UT to get back redshirt senior Jones for ’14 season

10/8/2013
BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
University of Toledo football defensive lineman Elijah Jones.
University of Toledo football defensive lineman Elijah Jones.

Elijah Jones
Elijah Jones

The University of Toledo has acquired a standout defensive lineman for the 2014 football season.

He is one of their own.

Elijah Jones, who has missed all six games of his senior season with a blood clot, is redshirting and plans to return next year, coach Matt Campbell revealed Tuesday. His availability had been up in the air, decreasing each week he roamed the sideline in street clothes rather than pads.

Campbell, whose team does not play a game this week, put the nix to the hope Jones could return and bolster a defensive front that has been a pleasant surprise throughout a 3-3 start.

"All signs say he’s going to be able to be back next year," Campbell said. "At this point, let’s get him through the season, let’s get him healthy, and let’s make the best decision come the winter of what we’ll do next with Elijah."

Jones, who probably would have started at nose tackle, is taking blood thinning medication that makes it dangerous for him to practice.

"You don’t want to be playing football on blood thinner," Campbell said.

Campbell, on the subject of injuries, balanced the bad news with good news. Redshirt freshman linebacker Jaylen Coleman could make his collegiate debut next week, the coach said. Coleman, whose bid to secure the starting middle linebacker spot unraveled amid a preseason knee injury, is expected to begin practicing next week. If all goes well he will be on the field two Saturdays from now against Navy.

"If he can play next week we’ll play him," Campbell said. "If not, we hope to get him back [the following week at Bowling Green]. We’ll make that decision on how he practices next week. He’s way ahead of the curve. I don’t want to put him in a situation where he can reinjure himself by any stretch of the imagination."

Coleman, whose injury did not require surgery, will compete for playing time behind Chase Murdock, a spot manned presently by Ray Bush.

Against Navy, whose 294 rushing yards per game ranks eighth nationally, the Rockets will need all the run stuffers they can find. Coleman, at 6-feet, 235 pounds, carries a stiff punch.

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @AutulloBlade.