Q&A with 'U' football commit Jeff Jones: 'It was an easy decision'
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KSTP-TV Sports caught up recently with 2014 Gophers running back commitment Jeff Jones (Washburn HS):
Why the Gophers?
The Gophers staff is a great staff. There's a lot of people who look at the Gophers and where they stand now. ... In the future, I picture the Gophers doing great things and I want to be a part of that. I was born here and I grew up here.
Why decide so early?
It was an easy decision. Some people say it's the hardest decision of your life, but when you have a staff and a coach like Coach (Jerry) Kill, it's an easy decision. This takes the pressure off of me. I can now focus on school and getting better on the field.
Did Kill tell you you'll have a chance to compete for a starting job right away?
I definitely do. He said I can start as a freshman. It'll be determined by how hard I work.
Seeing Ra'Shede Hageman, a Washburn alum, at the "U" help your decision?
He showed that it's possible. I figure his dream is the NFL. If he can do that, I can do that.
Are there any running backs you model your game after?
Adrian Peterson and Barry Sanders. Defensively, Deion Sanders.
The whole idea is to keep the blue-chip players home. How key was it for you to have faith in Kill and for Kill to have faith in you?
Very important. Michael Floyd left. James Onwualu left. Those are hometown kids that could've packed the U of M. I hear people say Minnesota isn't that great, but those two are. I wanted to change (that perception) and be one of the first blue-chip players to stay.
Your commitment could help convince other recruits to get on board.
Exactly. That's another reason I committed early. I want the Minnesota kids who Minnesota wants to be able to say, 'Jeff Jones chose this school, so it must be a good option.' I want them to come talk to me and ask why I chose it.
Your others offers are ...
Wisconsin, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Illinois and Syracuse. Basically, it was an easy decision. They are moving in the right direction. It's a great staff.
Could you play both football and basketball?
I definitely believe I can. I grew up loving both sports.