ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Notre Dame sophomore quarterback Demetrius Jones did not travel with the team to Michigan and possibly has transferred from the school.
Several clues suggest that Jones, who started Notre Dame's season opener Sept. 1, has transferred to Northern Illinois. The NIU online phone directory lists a student with the same full name -- Demetrius Armond Jones -- and the Chicago zip code matching the South Side neighborhood where Jones lives.
The e-mail address listed for Demetrius Jones in NIU's directory corresponds with the one Jones has at Notre Dame. Another hint surfaced Friday on Jones' Notre Dame Facebook.com page, where Northern Illinois linebacker Phil Brown, a teammate of Jones' at Chicago's Morgan Park High School, wrote "So loong" at 1:08 p.m.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis issued a statement saying he was informed at 2:30 p.m. Friday that Jones would not be traveling with the team to Michigan. Jones had practiced with Notre Dame as recently as Thursday.
"I have not spoken to Demetrius and can only say that he missed the team bus," Weis said in the statement. "Any additional comment would be without all the facts."
Reached Friday by the South Bend Tribune, Jones declined comment. His mother, LaShaun Dumas, told the newspaper that she had not spoken to her son.
Messages left for NIU athletic director Jim Phillips and NIU assistant athletics director for media relations Donna Turner were not immediately returned.
Jones, who didn't play as a freshman at Notre Dame, completed 1 of 3 passes against Georgia Tech in the 2007 season opener, added 28 rushing yards and fumbled twice before being pulled in the second quarter. Three days after the game, Weis announced that freshman Jimmy Clausen would be the team's starting quarterback, a decision that appears permanent.
If Jones has transferred to NIU, he might have to sit out both the 2007 and 2008 football seasons, leaving him with only two years of eligibility remaining. According to NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199, a transfer student from a four-year school such as Notre Dame can't be eligible to play for a full academic year. If the player enrolls at a different school after the 12th day of classes, he cannot use that semester as part of the "academic year of residence."
Since NIU started classes Aug. 27, Jones would have had to enroll as a full-time student by Wednesday -- the 12th day -- in order to use the fall semester to establish residency.
Jones was the 2005 Gatorade Player of the Year in Illinois and received scholarship offers from Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Purdue, Northern Illinois and others.