Notre Dame wide receiver T.J. Jones has plenty on his mind as he prepares for the talented Alabama secondary he'll face in the BCS championship game Jan. 7 in Miami.
Still, he can't help thinking about his late father, Andre, who died in June 2011 at age 42 after suffering a brain aneurysm. The elder Jones played on Notre Dame's 1988 national championship team, and T.J. grew up hearing stories about his dad's coach, Lou Holtz. His godfather is Raghib ''Rocket'' Ismail, the team's star receiver and kick returner, and he stays in touch with many of his father's Fighting Irish teammates.
T.J. keeps his dad's championship ring at home because his mother is afraid he would lose it at school. He hopes to place his own right next to it.
''Before I came here, we used to always talk about how cool it would be if we both won the national championship, especially if we won it at Notre Dame, once I committed here in high school,'' J...