This week's scouting report is on Minneapolis (MN) Washburn running back Jeff Jones. If you've been paying attention to recruiting in recent weeks, you probably know that Jones is a Minnesota commit who got a couple more significant offers during/after the Under Armour All-American Game, including the one from Michigan.
Scouting Report: Jeff Jones
as always. I was surprised to see the 40 time listed, as I thought he looked quicker than that in the UA game. Regardless, I thought he was impressive - passes the eye test. Love to have him in the class.
Your breakdown doesn't match the hype following th UA game.
I think the hype after the UA game was a little disproportionate, but let me say that I've been wanting Jones to get an offer for a while. Not because I think he's a superstar, but because I think it's important to take running backs in every class. As long as his reported grade issues are taken care of, I think he can be a solid player behind a good offensive line.
If you watched the UA game, I don't think you come away super impressed with Jones. He was the MVP because he was consistent and he caught the ball well, but nobody really had a great game. Jones was unable to outrun people, make them miss, or run them over, but he was just a steady back who can keep guys off balance with his moves/power.
Thanks for the analysis. The best part of your breakdown IMO, you take off the rose colored glasses. You're weaknesses section extend beyond "Needs improved pad level" or "needs to grow."
A lot of people take that the wrong way. But it's just being a realist. People have flaws, but it doesn't mean you don't want them on your team.
Anyways, my comparison would be a taller Ray Rice. Shifty, but not afraid to try to run thru someone. Not blazing fast, but can get the job done consistently.
That's an understatement. All the hoo-ha about his UA game made it sound like he's Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch combined. He looks OK, made a couple people miss with basic juking, but nothing really stood out to me.
Did not like his hot-dogging on the very last play when he caught the swing pass a few yards short of the goal line and just jogged in.
I don't know. I just watched his clips from that game, and for one game - and an all-star game at that - I thought he looked pretty damn good.
I just didn't see it. He looked pretty good - and he was the MVP - but there was nothing spectacular. I thought Derrick Green looked like a better pure runner in the Army game last year, and that was an all-star game, too.
17 year old kids will do stuff like this sometimes. But, that would end at U-M if he came here, I'm sure of that.
Agreed. It's not like he did anything excessive anyway. He wasn't moon walking in the end zone or doing the Carlton.
If he did the Carlton, I think that would be a positive on my scouting report.
What game were you watching? You say Jones was unable to "....make them miss, or run them over......"
Jones had one of the best jukes i have seen in an all-star game, and then it took about 8 guys to tackle him, as he showed excellent strength and determination in gaining about 3/4 extra yards.
Also, practice reports were fairly glowing, so it was not simply an 8/9 touch evaluation.
IMO, the coaches should go after Jones/Malik, and if they miss, move on. Jones would possibly be the best RB we have immediately when he steps on campus.
That completely discredited everything you just said.
Agreed. Jones would be lucky to be the third best back on our team when he shows up.
That's not to say we shouldn't take him, or even that he wouldn't have the highest potential (I don't believe that but it's possible). But with Green, Smith, Johnson and Hayes, it's unlikely Jones is immediately better than half of those guys, nearly impossible he's better than all of them.
And who do you believe is better?
Drake may be, but unfortunately we never got a chance to see what the coahces were raving about. Derrick Green? Hell no. Smith? Possibly. Ends there.
So arguably Smith, maybe Drake. Thats it.
Green was the best recruit and the #2 guy on the depth chart for most of the year.
This evaluation isn't based on practice reports.
Are we talking 'bout practice?
Always appreciate the information you provide.
I'm assuming he would redshirt the first year and would benefit from an experienced line once he hits the field. It looks like that would definitely benefit his game. Hope he flips.
You would think that redshirting a running back would be an option, but the coaches burned the redshirts of Green and Smith this year, so you never know...
Without Johnson getting injured, at least one of them would have burned their redshirt. One he was injured, it was impossible not to burn the second redshirt; they both have tons of potential. The real head-scratcher was how often they were used once their redshirts were burned.
I don't necessarily agree. Both of them played in the first game, the one in which Johnson got hurt. I have kind of a hard time believing that they would have given De'Veon Smith 7 carries (IIRC) in that game if they weren't expecting to play him.
Thanks ESPN. Your quest for world domination had an unsuspecting positive side effect.
Looks like he plows over a DB for an extra 2 yards.
Marshawn Lynch and Mike Hart had a baby.
I appreciate your thoughts.
Who would you rather get a commitment from?
Mack is more of a speed guy. I actually like him more as a safety than I do as a running back. I wouldn't mind if we were able to squeeze in Mack. He needs a lot of coaching, but he's a good athlete.
You liked Melvin Gordon as a safety when we were recruiting him and he turned out to be a decent RB.
I remember thinking that Gordon didn't really fit Rich Rodriguez's shotgun spread system.
The guy Mack reminds me of as a defensive back is Rashad Knight, whom Michigan recruited in the 2010 class and committed to Rutgers.
According to the Guru Sam Webb, Kalen Ballage is back in the mix.
but I can just see the fax coming through now...
"Your a Ballage"
He was one recruit I wished Michigan had pursued harder (maybe they did, I don't really know). He is reportedly a sub 4.4 guy. He would be a little on the tallish side for a RB but size and speed is not a bad thing to have.
Ballage is a soft commit to ASU, with a visit to Nebraska shortly after he committed. Holding a spot?
Related news, see free 247 article on both Jones and Ballage. Looks like Sparty may still be a player for Jones:
So the new IZ scheme I don't think helps Jones in that regards. He seems more like the patient type who weaves behind a lead blocker to me. So I personally think that's his best bet.
Now, if Kalen Ballage is back in the mix like UMich above is saying, I think he would fit very well in a under center zone scheme. Very well indeed.
...downhill runners - am specifically referencing one cut and go - are better fits for IZ types (obviously Davis from the Broncos; am thinking Adrian Peterson, Earl Campbell as well for example), whereas a Barry Sanders type (running style - juke juke) is better suited for a man blocking scheme?
Sanders actually ran behind mostly zone schemes, though a lot of it was OZ and draw plays, so that's not necessarily how it works. You are correct about the one step and go types, but Sanders had that ability too, but in a different way. Sanders had great burst out of his cuts regardless if he was juking or stop-starting or whatever. It's that burst and suddenness, more than patience footwork in confined areas that seperate the two IMO. Sanders is a space player, those players you listed are some level of space players, Jones is more of a confinded area player. But, with those you listed, there are some that could really work in any system. It's more just an optimal thing.
Jones has some wiggle, but not suddenness that fits the zone scheme as well. His footwork is short and choppy, which allows him to juke in his own right, but more juke behind a lead blocker at the next level, IMO. If he can be a patient back, latch on to a blocker in front of him, and allow his footwork to day him through the wash while putting his blockers in good positions, that's how I see Jones being successful at the college level. It won't be because of burst as much as just picking his way through a defense.
I would describe the Lions blocking scheme to be more "okay, we're gonna give Barry the ball, so... oh, hell, just try to hit somebody, but we all know you probably won't, but it won't matter."
Thanks Magnus. Your work is greatly appreciated by myself and others who respect your opinions and also frequent your website.
As always, thanks for sharing these reports, Magnus.
One thing that is sort of interesting about Jones' recruitment is that the predictions for him on 247Sports literally seemed to flip with the Nussmeier hire. Virtually all of the updates which predict Jones going to Michigan happen around that time or afterwards, but as you mention, the track record Nussmeier has with RBs seems to spark more interest than what might exist otherwise.
For me, considering we have Smith and Green, I feel like Mack would be a good addition, if only from a speed perspective (he definitely looks faster on films we've seen here). I guess it will come down to what type of guy the coaches want and, of course whether or not either wants to come to UM.
I'm sorry, I usually am pretty up to date on recruiting, but who the heck is Mack?
He's a RB/S that Michigan has been contacting recently, albeit without offering yet.
Or punts? PLEASE tell me he returns something.
/Realizes "Return of the Mack" came out 18 years ago. Feels old.
Hahaha....I love you BiSB...wait did I just say that out loud?
This is getting weird. Time to go.
Fornette committed to LSU. per espn.
didn't that happen more than a week ago?
Yea I believe that happened at the UA game
Yeah, he committed during the UA All-American Game.
ESPN had it on their bottom line last night. It ran right after a note about Jeremy Hill announcing he is going to the NFL, so it looked like a new report. To me, it looked like "oh, wow, a new verbal committ", but I then I remembered Fornette announced already.
I wonder if Ballage has been in contact with Nuss, and how interested he is in Michigan? You would think he has to know about Jones' interest in Michigan and that he is planning on visiting soon.
I was telling Nick Saban the other day, "just cut a few and it will be perfect."
this guy's parents decided not to name him Mike
Although there's some disagreement here on just how good Jones is, IMO it's pretty clear he has a lot of potential. And given some good coaching at the next level, he could turn into a very productive college RB. So, I'd love to see him go blue on or before NSD. Of course if Ballage is back in the mix, that would make things interesting if the coaches only want one RB. But, I think in the end, Jones is much more likely of a commit than Ballage.
Appreciate your post and staying on the thread to add to comments.