A father picks up his daughter, who is carrying a full laundry basket. A mother visits her son and drops off a supply of Gatorade, Mountain Dew and pretzels. A taxi arrives to take fares to the airport or train station. And a traffic cop drives by on a continuous loop in search of the guilty.
It’s a Friday outside Hedrick Hall on the campus of UCLA, the kind of postcard-beautiful afternoon — no clouds, comfortable temperatures and a slight breeze — that should be on the school’s recruiting brochure.

Activity surrounds Maurice Jones-Drew as he relaxes in a shaded courtyard. But nobody acknowledges one of the campus’ highest profile undergrad students. No pictures or autographs. No conversations about fantasy football or the protective boot on his left foot.

And Jones-Drew wouldn’t have it any other way.

The player most associated with the Jaguars has returned to campus 10 years after he first arrived and has blended right in.

He lives in the dorm, his suitemates nearly 10 years younger than him. He doesn’t have a car on campus, relying on friends for rides or walking the 30 minutes to class. He eats in the cafeteria. He plays video games.

Keeping a promise to his family and an eye on his post-playing career, Jones-Drew is taking three classes in pursuit of a history degree, admirable because with millions in earnings from his first seven NFL seasons, he doesn’t need to.

“I kind of just came here to get away from all the nonsense and focus on school and healing right,” he says. “I just mind my own business. I’ve been able to adapt.”

His adaptation to college life a success, Jones-Drew will have to adapt to another new era with the Jaguars.

Jones-Drew, who turned 28 on Saturday, will spend the spring/early summer rehabbing his foot. Once healthy, he will be entering the final season of a five-year, $31.1 million contract. Could he be entering his last season with the Jaguars?

“It’s not up to me anymore,” he says. “What I want doesn’t matter. All I can do is go out and produce the way I have. I had my say about it last year [with a holdout].”

Jones-Drew had plenty to say here last week — about his school life, holdout, injury and legacy.

More serious student

Jones-Drew spent three years at UCLA before entering the 2006 draft, when he was selected in the second round by the Jaguars.

During his first go-around on this campus, the priorities were football and school. This time, the priorities are school … and video games.

“It’s been interesting,” Jones-Drew says. “I’ve learned a lot. Being here at 18 compared to being here at almost 28 is obviously a big difference. I take things more seriously now than I did then.”

Jones-Drew has a single room, but his second-floor door is always open. The student next to him is an engineering student from the Bay Area. His suitemates were in the second and third grades when he first arrived at UCLA.

The common area of the suite is a mess. A garbage can is overflowed — pieces of pizza crust are stacked up in the corner.

Jones-Drew’s room consists of a single bed, desk, chair and a large flat-screen television he borrowed from a friend.

“I figured it was going to be tight in here — there’s just room to sleep and do jumping jacks,” he says.

Leaning against the wall are crutches he used to get around campus in January. He tried a motorized buggy but it couldn’t handle the hills. He uses a Mac Book for school work and his newest prized possession is a Scotty Cameron putter he received as a gift with the inscribed initials “MJD.”

The putter hasn’t been used — the Bel Air Country Club is less than a mile away but the injury hasn’t allowed Jones-Drew to play golf.

The computer has been used — before leaving campus, Jones-Drew needed to complete a 20-page paper on terrorism, two five-page papers for his Civil War class and three-, four- and five-page papers for his third class that focused more on his opinions of the reading material.

The laptop stays in his room, though. He says he’s the only student who uses a notebook and pen in class instead of a computer.

Jones-Drew’s three classes are “History of War,” “The Civil War,” and “History: 1940-1990.” And he’s been challenged, both by the curriculum and the isolation — his wife and kids remain in the Jacksonville area.

“It was trying to get my mind focused on school — it would have been so easy to say, ‘Forget it,’ because I don’t have to do this,” he says. “But I’m starting it, I’m going to finish it and I’m going to keep going.”

And keep expressing his opinions.

“It’s funny talking to kids 18 and 20 years old and they don’t know too much about the real world,” Jones-Drew says. “I understand where they’re coming from because I thought the same way I did when I was their age. But now I see things and make conscious decisions.

“The kids were afraid to come up and say anything to me at first — they’d rather just Tweet me. But then people saw me hanging out with a couple of kids and they got more comfortable. They ask questions and I give them my best answer.”

Which is?

“Enjoy college because there is nothing like taxes and kids and dealing with things,” Jones-Drew says. “I told them to live on campus all four years. We’ve had great discussions. I always tell them at the end, ‘I’m not attacking you. I’m just telling you the truth.’ ”

Jones-Drew jokes that UCLA isn’t the real world — “The real world isn’t this nice,” he says — but the NFL is and after his sojourn here, he’ll soon return to his professional world. And issues remain.