Scouting Report: Jeff Jones

Submitted by Magnus on January 14th, 2014 at 7:39 AM

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.…


ND Sux

January 14th, 2014 at 7:50 AM ^

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. 


January 14th, 2014 at 8:15 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 8:51 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 9:17 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 9:53 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 11:37 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 8:02 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 10:51 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 10:58 AM ^

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.

Space Coyote

January 14th, 2014 at 8:49 AM ^

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.

Space Coyote

January 14th, 2014 at 10:41 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 9:30 AM ^

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.


January 14th, 2014 at 9:39 AM ^

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.