Draft Day for Kevin Jones

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    Cardinal O'Hara product Kevin Jones, of Virginia Tech, was picked in the first round
(No. 30) of the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions on 4/24/04. Kevin's family hosted a
get-together at Chickie's & Pete's, at 15th and Packer, in South Philly.
    Here are some pics and, below them, the first story about Kevin in the Daily News . . .   

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Disappointment grew for Kevin as the first round neared an end and his name had not been
called. He's watching ESPN's coverage.

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After Kevin was picked by Detroit, he removed his shirt, flexed and gave out
one of those "yeah, baby" grunts (smile). This is the aftermath.

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Kevin is being handed a Lions jersey. His mother, Tracey, is in the lower part of the picture.

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Kevin exchanges a hug with his father, Tom.

This was the first story about Kevin to appear in the Daily News, in October 1997 . . . 

by Ted Silary, Daily News Sports Writer

One second coach George Stratts is trying to squash all attempts to shine a spotlight on his talented freshman running back.

But the next second he's saying: ``I've never seen a young kid like this one. He doesn't always hit the hole the right way yet, but when he does . . . phew, what acceleration.''

The name is Kevin Jones and he plays football for Stratts at Cardinal O'Hara High. Little by little, the wraps are being removed and the smiles on Stratts' face are growing larger and larger.

Yesterday, the 6-1, 175-pound Jones rushed 16 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns as the Lions licked visiting Kennedy-Kenrick, 24-6, in a Catholic South game.

On 36 carries spread over five games, Jones has produced 221 yards and five touchdowns. He was unable to play in O'Hara's opener, a 10-6 loss to Springfield (Delco), because of the CL rule preventing freshman gridders from practicing with the varsity until school begins. A teachers' strike was under way at that time.

Jones's father, Tom, starred in basketball at now-defunct St. James in the early 1980s. Kevin also plays that sport, but his strengths are football and track.

Along with quiet confidence.

``They didn't tell me I'd be playing varsity this year, but I knew I was good enough,'' he said, softly. ``I know everybody says, `He's only a freshman,' but I don't think that matters. I want the ball the most. But I do understand how they're using me.''

After noting varsity players are bigger than those he's accustomed to running against, Jones was asked, ``Do they hit harder?''

``If I give them the chance to,'' he said, laughing.

Jones shares the tailback position with senior Josh Barr, who yesterday contributed 51 yards on 19 carries. The Lions' other touchdown was scored by defensive end Larry Moore, who had to run all of 1 yard (more like 4 inches, really) after scooping up a fumble by K-K quarterback Christian DeChurch on a strip by Matt Clancy.

In track, Jones, 15, last summer sped 100 meters in 10.8 seconds to take first place in an AAU national meet in Bethesda, Md. He missed by a few days the ability to compete against 14-year-olds, a category in which the national record was 10.98.

``I've been in track only two years,'' Jones said. ``I've been in football four years. That's my favorite. No particular reason. It just is. I like watching Ricky Watters and Charlie Garner. Watters, for how he does cutbacks. Garner, for how he uses his speed. I need to work on my cutbacks. Develop better vision.''

At first, Jones was unsure how he would be accepted by the older players. But when he broke his second varsity carry for an easy-as-could-be 29-yard touchdown against Bishop McDevitt, he was greeted warmly when he returned to the sideline.

Jones, who lives in Chester, was also courted by Malvern Prep and St. Joseph's Prep.

``I liked the way O'Hara ran their program,'' he said. ``I liked being around their players.''