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As all of that implies, Jones is a social creature, happiest when he is living up to his half of a bargain. "The wide receiver is a clutch player in football," he says. "I like the pressure of being depended upon." In the third game of his sophomore season, he caught a decisive touchdown pass with five seconds to go. Yet his feeling on seeing the ball in the air, "knowing if it touched my hands I wasn't going to drop it," didn't stem from overweening confidence. "More from experience," he says. "In baseball I didn't know if I could play at this level. Confidence came from performance, from teammates, from coaching support." With that support he has hit 100 points better with men on base.
"Looking back, I can see how my sports have strengthened my willingness to take a chance," Jones adds. "I questioned my ability even in coming here. I would've been scared to death to walk on at Oregon or Oregon State."
Jones has now left the dorm and moved to an apartment he shares with teammates Jeff Erdman and Don Ulrich, and Jeff Namhie, a former football and baseball teammate who is now an apprentice fireman. As the junior resident of the apartment, Jones was assigned an old utility closet as his bedroom. It contains enough space for his twin bed and nothing else. "My dungeon," he calls it.
"The thing you have to understnd about Jones," says Erdman, a safety and outfielder, "is that he's not some alien put down here to embarrass the rest of us. He has his flaws."
"Like what?" says Jones in mock astonishment.
"Well, he's absolutely hopeless at picking up girls."
Jones sputters in dismay, but it's hard to tell if he disagrees with Erdman or is just agonizing over this vital failing. Finally he says, "That's an interesting thing to hear from someone who can never remember to keep his towel on in the coed training room."
Ulrich, a fireplug defensive back who also plays baseball, agrees with Jones that the Lewis and Clark ethos is good for growing multisport scholar-athletes, but adds that it's not perfect. "Getting good-looking women must be like getting big interior linemen," he says. "They take heavy recruiting."
"And then the school abuses them," puts in Namhie. "The women, anyway. It's called Freshmen 10—they all gain 10 pounds on the organic food service."
The talk floats on, of classes, of obstreperous professors, of frigid road trips to Spokane and Fairbanks, of how Jones has been able to do all he has done.