The college football season is still months from beginning, but that isn't slowing down the hype about Gophers redshirt freshman Jeff Jones.
ESPN is the latest to buzz about Jones' potential, naming him on a short list of five Big Ten freshman ready to have a breakout season.
"Technically, Jones is still listed on Minnesota's roster as a running back, but he could wind up as the Gophers' top receiving option. Coach Jerry Kill went so far as to say that an argument could even be made that the redshirt freshman was the best receiver in camp. That says something, especially considering he was academically ineligible last fall, meaning these spring workouts were his first-ever in college. He undoubtedly has talent -- he was the Under Armour MVP in high school -- and was an ESPN 300 prospect. He hasn't let up. Said offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover: “He could be a real weapon for us.”"
Jones the RB/WR
Jones caught the eye of reporters during spring practices in April when he left the Minnesota coaching staff in awe of his ability, not only as a running back, but a wide receiver.
“He’s looking real good, and I think all the defensive backs agree,” Quarterback Mitch Leidner said, according to the Star Tribune. “He runs some of the best routes on the team, and he’s relatively raw. He catches the ball real well.”
If Jones can add a play-making threat to the receiving corp, the Gophers will have an element to their offense that didn't exist in 2014, Fox Sports notes.
Minnesota finished 13th in the Big Ten in passing yards per game (141.8) last night. Big Ten Network says Jones, along with trio of freshman wide receivers, could help Leidner improve the passing attack in 2015. BTN added that Minnesota will feature a no-huddle passing attack next season.
Jones the key to Minnesota winning the West?
ESPN college football writer Mitch Sherman believes Jones could be the key ingredient to the Gophers winning the Big Ten West division title. If he can add an explosive element to the passing game, Sherman said he might pick Minnesota over division favorites Wisconsin and Nebraska.
Jones starred at Minneapolis Washburn High School as a running back and was named Minnesota's Mr. Football in 2013.