Hubbard’s Jones leaving WVU for YSU


By Brian Dzenis

bdzenis@vindy.com

Youngstown State’s football team is getting a Power 5 addition to its offensive line.

West Virginia center Matt Jones announced via Twitter on Friday that he will transfer to YSU after graduating in the spring. Jones is a Hubbard graduate.

“This decision stems from many factors, the culmination of which makes it impossible for me to remain at WVU,” Jones wrote.

Jones had been on YSU head coach Bo Pelini’s radar for some time. Pelini took over the Penguins program two weeks before Jones signed with the Mountaineers and made a late push to get him. He will earn his degree in criminal justice this spring before coming to Youngstown for his redshirt senior season. Jones did not return a call for comment Friday night.

Jones was a two-year starter for the Mountaineers and started 25 of the last 26 games. He occasionally found himself splitting reps with redshirt sophomore Jacob Buccigrossi. He started during a 52-17 WVU win against YSU on Sept. 9, 2018.

“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 told the Vindicator after that game.

West Virginia went 8-4 in 2018 after starting the season as a dark-horse College Football Playoff candidate. Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen left the team to become the head coach at Houston this winter, with Troy’s Neal Brown taking over the program.

Jones wrote that the change in head coach did not prompt his decision to transfer. YSU has vacancies in four of the five starting positions on the offensive line. Jones will look to replace the graduated Vitas Hrynkiewicz at center.

“I can’t wait to be able to perform in front of my friends and family, play for my hometown and eat lots of Youngstown Pizza!” Jones wrote. “I can’t wait to come home!”

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