The future star of the Golden Gophers on the gridiron might be Jeff Jones, the ultra-talented tailback from Minneapolis Washburn.
Sports Illustrated put Jones on a list of 10 redshirt freshman that are ready to breakout in 2015.
"The Golden Gophers still don’t quite know what they have in Jones, as he was forced to sit out fall practices due to academic issues. As standout David Cobb graduates, Jones is prepared to compete for the starting job this spring. He’ll have to beat out Rodrick Williams, Berkley Edwards and Rodney Smith, but brings immense talent to the table. The MVP of the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game, Jones was a major coup for head coach Jerry Kill. He tallied more than 2,000 yards of total offense as a senior at Washburn (Minn.) High."
Jones didn't play or practice as a true freshman because he was academically ineligible. But now that his grades are in good standing at the University of Minnesota, Jones will be able to show off some of his, as offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover says, "it factor" when the Gophers begin spring practices next month.
"He's the kind of kid that there's an 'it' factor for him," Limegrover said of Jones in a December interview with the Pioneer Press. "The thing that we're so encouraged about is that he was able to get here. He was able to get into a routine. He has done well academically. He was able to get done what he needs to get done. This thing could've easily been taken away and headed down a different path. So I'm excited for him and can't wait for the other coaches and myself to get him out here and get him going."
Jones was a four-star recruit coming out of Washburn and he was the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game MVP.
Jones will have to compete for playing time, but by all accounts, he could be the most talented player in a group that will need to replace Minnesota's single-season rushing leader, David Cobb.