‘No one hardly even knew about him’: How Daniel Jones rose from overlooked recruit to potential Sunday star

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By Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic

No one knows how Becca and Steve Jones did it.

Four kids, four elite athletes. Countless games and even more practices, often overlapping. Their oldest, also named Becca, played field hockey at Davidson. Daniel played football at Duke. Bates is a sophomore forward for the Davidson basketball team. And Ruthie, the youngest, will start her collegiate soccer career at Duke this fall.

They all played multiple sports growing up, which meant weekends were more than a little busy. ESPN’s Jay Bilas, whose son Anthony grew up alongside Daniel, believes he’s never seen a more dedicated set of parents, insistent on being there for as many moments in their children’s lives as possible. And their kids were almost always there for each other, too.

Daniel Jones says that it was a family rule: Everybody went to everything. Showing up mattered more than wins or losses. They weren’t allowed to watch much TV or play a bunch of video games, so it was only natural that they gravitated toward sports.

“It was always fun,” says Becca Jones, Daniel’s mother. “We never felt like it was something we had to do or that it was a burden. Saturdays were the best because everything was all packed into one day, before school sports started. Everybody went to each other’s games and cheered and then got back in the car and went to the next thing. It was just something we did. We felt like there was a lot of joy in doing it. So it just kept going year after year. I don’t think we’ve stopped.

“We still go from game to game, and those are our best days, when we’re still doing that.”

Daniel Jones was once a lanky kid whose only Division I football offer was from Princeton. He didn’t have a Rivals.com recruiting profile and needed a Hail Mary phone call from his high school coach to David Cutcliffe to get him noticed. He is now 6 feet 5, 220 pounds, and projected to be one of the first quarterbacks selected in April’s NFL Draft.

For the Jones family, Sundays are about to get unexpectedly busier.

“Now they’re going to have to fit the NFL in with Daniel,” Bilas says. “They’re not going to have any time.”

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