April 2, 2013

Jones exploring his options


Minnesota got off to a great start in the class of 2014 when it added the commitment of four-star Minneapolis (Minn.) Washburn running back Jeff Jones in February, but the Gophers' fight to keep the state's top player at home is not yet over.

"I let them know that I am going to stay committed, but I am going to start to explore my options again," Jones said. "Me and my father had a talk and I felt that it was only right if I gave the other schools an equal opportunity to recruit me.

"Coach [Jerry] Kill was fine with that. He told me to look at just go look at the other schools and check them out."

Jones spoke with Kill on Friday, and was able to schedule a trip the following day down to Iowa State to check out a Cyclones' practice.

"They meshed their practice into our junior day and we got to tour around their facilities and watch the rest of their practice," Jones said. "Coach (Paul) Rhoads came and talked to us, and thanked us for taking the time to come down there. At the end we got to meet with our recruiting coordinators.

"I talked with Coach [Kenith] Pope, the running backs coach, and he was telling me how he could help develop me as a running back. He coached LaDainian Tomlinson down at TCU and he also coached Barry Sanders, so he's coached a few big-name players."

Iowa State was one of the first schools to offer Jones last summer, and his interest in the Cyclones' program has grown following the recent visit to Ames.

"I am definitely interested in Iowa State. They liked me since my freshman year, so I respect them on that," Jones said. "They have great facilities down there. There are bigger in the country, but I don't think there is another school that has the equipment that they have there."

Other schools that have offered are Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Syracuse and Wisconsin. The California Bears have also shown strong interest in recent weeks and could be on the verge of joining that group.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Jones does not have any other spring campus visits planned, but he does expect to see several schools over the summer.

"If it is possible to see all the schools that have offered me, I would like to do that," Jones said.



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