"I remember the day [he decided]. I was praying about it and I just kind of had a peace about staying.''
That's one of the few peaceful days Jones enjoys in the spotlight as the Oklahoma quarterback. He has the pressure to live up to the lofty expectations at the school and it hasn't gone well during his time. In his four years as OU's starter - including when he took over for Bradford and started 10 games - Oklahoma has been No. 3, 7, 1 and 4 in the Associated Press preseason poll. In those years the Sooners finished out of the poll, No. 6 and No. 16 in 2009-11 and are No. 13 this season.
Also, consider that despite Jones' lofty numbers he wasn't picked as the league's preseason player of the year, an honor that instead went to WVU's Smith.
And then there's the Belldozer factor. For the past two seasons, Jones has actually been pulled from the game as a matter of routine when the Sooners get close to the goal line. He's replaced by 6-foot-6, 245-pound sophomore Blake Bell, who more often than not blasts his way into the end zone while lining up in Jones' spot.
That's got to hurt.
"Oh, absolutely,'' Jones said. "I wouldn't be a competitor if I didn't want to finish the drive. But I get down there and almost automatically start jogging off the field.
"Blake comes in and that's great. But you absolutely want to finish the drive.''
Overall, of course, this season hasn't been much different from the previous three for Jones. Those lofty national title hopes have been dashed, although no team in the country can make a better case for merely being the victim of scheduling circumstance. OU's only losses have come against two of the three unbeaten teams atop the BCS standings, Kansas State and Notre Dame. But both were at home, matching the number of losses Oklahoma had suffered in Norman since Bob Stoops arrived in 1999.
But Jones just keeps plugging along, winning most games and setting or approaching records every week. He will likely finish his career third in NCAA history in passing yards and already owns the school record for career wins by a quarterback.
And now he even has competition as the best athlete under his own roof at home. Wife Whitney and the Sooners are No. 11 in the latest AP women's basketball poll, two spots higher than Jones and the football team. He's not sure who would win that battle.
"If we played horse, she'd definitely win,'' Jones said. "But if we played one-on-one, I think I'd get her.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.