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Hubbard’s Matt Jones at center of West Virginia win

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hubbard graduate previously recruited by Pelini

By Brian Dzenis

bdzenis@vindy.com

MORGANTOWN W.VA

A local prospect who got away from Youngstown State had a hand in West Virginia’s 52-17 rout of the Penguins on Saturday.

Hubbard grad Matt Jones attended football camps hosted by YSU, but previous head coach Eric Wolford’s regime didn’t make a big push to get him. He’s now the No. 14 Mountaineers’ starting center.

“When [head coach Bo Pelini] came in, he tried [to recruit me] and that was two weeks before signing day,” Jones said. “I wasn’t getting recruited much by YSU at that point until coach Pelini came in.”

There wasn’t any hard feelings as the two talked at midfield before the game. The Penguins program brings back good memories for Jones.

“Growing up, I was always at a YSU game. My first experience watching college football was at YSU, so it was really cool to play them,” Jones said. “They have a great team and they’re only going to get better. I think it’s going to be a great season for them.”

The redshirt-junior assumed the starting center duties last year, but found himself competing to keep his job this fall, with redshirt-sophomore Jacob Buccigrossi ahead of him on the depth chart at times in camp.

“It was humbling, but you always have to work for what you want,” Jones said. “Me and [Buccigrossi] were trading back and forth and we worked together to make each other better.”

Jones wasn’t engrossed in the day-to-day depth chart and the two lineman have kept a good rapport.

“You try not to focus on it, because you can get wrapped up in it and it’s more of just one day at a time,” Jones said of competing for his role. “If [Buccigrossi] needs help, I’ll help him and if I need help, he’ll help me.”

Remaining humble, Jones kept it modest when asked about the ceiling of his team.

“This week, we were focused on YSU,” Jones said. “Now we’re focusing on NC State. It’s a week at a time.”