YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After playing over 800 career snaps at West Virginia, Hubbard grad Matt Jones has come home to Youngstown State for his final season after joining the Penguins as a grad transfer in the offseason.
“It is home, it has always been home,” the senior center said.
After four years away from home in Morgantown with the Mountaineers, the Hubbard standout gets to do something he never did when he was with the Eagles — play a game at the Ice Castle.
“It is really exciting,” Jones said. “My family, mom, dad, wife always came to my games but now I get to have my entire family — hopefully, the entire area of Hubbard, local area — supporting me.”
Jones is expected to play a big role with the Penguins this year, anchoring an offensive line that lost several starters a year ago.
“Matt brings experience,” said YSU offensive line coach John Peterson. “He has played a lot of college football. He is back home in front of his family and friends. Looking for him to be an anchor point.”
“I like Matt,” head coach Bo Pelini said. “I keep telling him he has to try and take on a bigger leadership role, use his experience. I like the way the offensive line is shaping up, especially the first group.”
One thing that’s helped Jones in the transition from WVU to YSU is the familiar faces of Valley products who are with the Penguins this season.
“It is pretty cool because we all graduated together,” Jones said. “Zinni was always with me, we threw track together. Joe, same thing, he was at the Big 22 with me. It is pretty cool to see all the local guys together, playing together.”
Kickoff to the 2019 season is inching closer and closer to Jones and the Penguins.
We are less than two weeks away. It will be a week from this Saturday when the Penguins travel down to Alabama to open up the season.