Jones was certainly flattered.
"Oh, definitely," he said. "That's been a dream of mine since I can remember, to play in the professional football league. Every now and then you wonder where your life could be headed if you do the right things."
Jones has emerged as one of Everett Golson's favorite targets. His 15 catches is second-most on the team behind tailback Theo Riddick, and his 183 receiving yards trails only DaVaris Daniels and Tyler Eifert. He's also emerged as a leader in the wake of Michael Floyd's departure for the NFL.
"It's just the fact that we don't have another Michael Floyd here anymore," Jones said. "Last year, it was him. When we were in a tough situation, and we needed someone to be an example, we looked to Michael Floyd. So I chose for myself to be that example."
Floyd's absence also means there are 100 more catches to go around. Last year, Floyd was the star, with the rest of the receiving corps serving as little more than a supporting cast.
"You wouldn't really defer to him, but you couldn't get mad when they threw him the ball 12 times a game because he would catch it in triple coverage," Jones said. "It didn't matter, he was going to catch the ball. You wanted to get the ball, but at the same time, you understood why and you were OK with getting the touches you got."
Irish coach Brian Kelly said the biggest reason Jones has emerged as a starter from a crowded field of contenders is his commitment to becoming a "complete wide receiver." That means blocking, too -- something Jones did little of in high school, and largely eschewed in his first two seasons at Notre Dame.
This year has been different, and that's why he's on the field.
"I think the difference between T.J. this year and last year is his focus on being a complete wide receiver in all phases of the game," Kelly said. "Vertically, he ran a great come back route Saturday where he was precise in and out of his break and he's been a much-improved blocker. In all phases
there is a commitment on his end to be the complete player."
Said Jones: "I understood this year that blocking can be just as important as catching the ball. You definitely need to have a little grit about yourself when you block, or else it's going to be a long day. I play with grit on the field. I'm silent about it, I don't voice it. But the attitude in my head is, if I want something, I'm going to go get it."
Whether that includes a pro career remains to be seen. For now, Jones is flattered, but doesn't have time to be thinking about it. He's just glad to be contributing, and to be playing what he called his "best football."
"Like Coach Kelly said, for us to keep succeeding, we need to be together as a team," he said. "We can't stray off. Certain guys can't be worrying about draft stock, especially this year in the season, and me being young."