Jones’ plan was to stay with the ACC Network for another year before reevaluating. However, he hired an agent after the 2016 season (Vision Sports, which also represents Gaudin, now with the Big Ten Network, Westwood One and EA Sports). But the agency helped Jones secure an interview in June with ESPN, after which he was hired.
“I was really happy with Raycom, but you’re always looking for the next gig and kind of looking forward,” Jones said.
He said it was hard to break the news to Raycom, particularly producer Rob Reichley and his play-by-play partner Dave Archer. But Jones’ goal is to be fulltime in sports broadcasting – his “real” job is selling modular carpet for Interface – and this seemed the next step. ESPN’s launch of the ACC Network in 2019 seems a possibility down the road.
“Hopefully, they like me enough where this’ll lead to some other stuff, and even if it doesn’t with them, obviously, having that (ESPN) name behind you, it can open up some other doors,” Jones said.
It has been an eventful year. Jones, 28, got married in May to the former Jackie Lucas, a former volleyball star at Wake Forest.
Jones will team with Anish Shroff (play by play) and Ahmad Brooks (analyst) and work Saturday games. He said the crew will work nationally. ACC, Big 10, Big 12 and SEC games would seem the most likely, as ESPN doesn’t have rights to many Pac-12 games. The scope of his college football knowledge will have to expand.
“Previously, I probably wouldn’t pay attention to what people are saying about Kansas State being a surprise in the Big 12, but now I’ve got to pay attention to it,” he said.
Jones acknowledged he owed gratitude to Strom, the former Tech quarterback who left the Tech broadcast team after nine seasons to devote more time to watching his children’s sporting events. Without the vacancy, it’s conceivable Jones’ broadcast career might still be on the launch pad. To his own credit, though, Jones seized the opportunity and has maximized it.