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Pack Running Back Gains Yardage in Nutrition Science

Wolfpack running back Demarcus Jones on the football field

“It’s like a getaway. Whenever you’re on the field, everything goes quiet, even though it looks chaotic out there. There’s a sense of peace when you go out there and play something that you love.”

Demarcus Jones, a running back for North Carolina State University’s football team and a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), grew up in Wendell, North Carolina, less than 30 minutes from campus. Jones started playing football when he was just 5 years old. As the youngest on his team, he had to learn to be tough from a young age.

It was always his dream to play college football, and as a freshman walk-on, Jones worked hard to earn his spot with the Wolfpack.

“Being a walk-on was a very humbling, eye-opening experience,” says Jones. “I went into it with an open mindset. It was tough at first, but it always gets easier. I really just kept pushing through that small adversity, but it wasn’t too hard to keep pushing myself for a game that I love.”

Jones is able to connect his passion for football with his passion for nutrition while studying nutrition science in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. His interest began when he was diagnosed with genetics-induced high blood pressure, or hypertension, at a young age. As part of his treatment, Jones was encouraged to follow a special, low-salt diet.

“I had to change my diet, even though I was always playing football or some type of sport. I was always fit,” says Jones.

Although Jones’ hypertension is now managed, the diet he was told to follow wasn’t functional for his lifestyle. He hopes to one day develop effective, nutrition-based treatments for others, and use his knowledge to help his future family stay healthy.

Photo Credit: Phill Ellsworth for NC State Athletics
Demarcus Jones running with the football while playing against the University of Connecticut. Photo Credit: Phill Ellsworth for NC State Athletics.

A degree in nutrition also provides him an opportunity to “stay close to the game” professionally with a goal to become a nutritionist for a football team.

The Wolfpack running backs coach, Kurt Roper, also sees the value of nutrition in football.

“Coach Roper always tells us to focus on what we eat because as an athlete, he says what you eat can keep you from having injuries,” says Jones. “You have to eat the right stuff to stay strong.”

The football team is heeding this advice as they prepare for the homecoming game on Saturday, Nov. 5, against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and Jones is looking forward to the game.

“I know that’ll be a hyped-up environment, and everybody getting together and celebrating is always good to see.”

This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.

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