Still, Harrison Jones isn’t the youngest member of his family on the Alabama football roster anymore. Big brother Barrett Jones, the All-America center, has moved on to a possible professional career.
Harrison is a rising junior, having lettered in each of the past two seasons as a backup tight end. Now, he’s the older brother, as linebacker Walker Jones will join the Crimson Tide next season as an incoming freshman.
“It’s certainly a change of things,” Harrison said after Wednesday’s spring workout in the Tide’s indoor practice facility. “That’s kind of how it’s been my whole life. I’m kind of the in-between guy.
“Me and Barrett were in high school together, and then Barrett left. Me and Walker were in high school together. Then I came to college, and me and Barrett were in college together. Now me and Walker will be in college together and Barrett will be gone. That’s kind of the middle spot I’ve played my whole life, and I’m excited about being his older brother, for sure.”
All three are the sons of former Alabama basketball player Rex Jones and the grandsons of former North Alabama championship-winning basketball coach Bill Jones. Harrison Jones said the family is close, and he added he still benefits from advice and help Barrett gave him before he put on an Alabama jersey. It’s the same advice Harrison is giving Walker now.
Harrison said Barrett told him how to deal with the speed of the college game.
“It’s a really big transition from high school to college, because the game is so fast and everybody’s so athletic,” Harrison said. “But the biggest way to slow down the game is to understand not only your assignment on plays but to understand why you’re doing it.
“Learn the concept of the plays instead of just memorizing your assignments. Understand what the defenses are doing and why they’re doing that, and the game really starts to slow down when you start understanding stuff like that.”
Harrison Jones is dealing with another change this spring, besides not having Barrett in practice anymore.
For the first time in a season, he is healthy. Last season, back trouble bothered him much of the year.
“It was a slow-developing thing. I had it all last year. I had a couple of epidural shots, and it kind of went away, and then it got worse at the end of last year.”
By the time Alabama played in the BCS National Championship Game, Jones struggled so badly he couldn’t practice or play. He had to watch from the sideline, but he nearly didn’t get the chance to do that.
When the team traveled to Miami a week before the game, Jones couldn’t fly down on a plane until the following day because of the back problem.
“I did have surgery right after the game, a couple days later in North Carolina,” he said. “But great rehab, great results from surgery, and I feel great now, so I’m ready to go.”
Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter @MarkSportsStar.