Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Scouting Report: Jeff Jones

Minneapolis (MN) Washburn running back Jeff Jones
Name: Jeff Jones
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 198 lbs.
High school: Minneapolis (MN) Washburn
Position: Running back
Class: 2014

Notes:
 Holds offers from Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Syracuse, and Wisconsin . . . Committed to Minnesota on February 2, 2013 . . . Claims a 4.69 forty, 275 lb. bench, 350 lb. squat, and a 32" vertical . . . As a sophomore in 2011, had 142 carries for 1,415 yards and 26 touchdowns . . . As a junior in 2012, had 111 carries for 1,002 yards and 9 touchdowns . . . As a senior in 2013, had 167 carries for 1,525 yards and 34 touchdowns, plus 17 catches for 493 yards . . . ESPN 4-star, 83 grade, #14 RB, #181 overall . . . Rivals 4-star, #9 RB, #92 overall . . . Scout 4-star, #14 RB . . . 247 Sports 4-star, 93 grade, #13 RB, #188 overall

Strengths: Low center of gravity . . . Changes direction quickly . . . Jitterbug moves despite lacking great speed . . . Excellent patience and vision . . . Sets up blockers and defenders nicely . . . Uses variety of moves to shake free in open space . . . Deceptive power to go with agility . . . Can run around or through defenders . . . Good pass catcher . . . Adjusts well to ball in the air . . . Very physical runner who enjoys blocking unsuspecting defenders

Weaknesses: Lacks great speed . . . Not much of a home run threat . . . Does a lot of things well, but nothing outstanding in itself . . . Poor route runner, though that can easily be taught at the running back position . . . Appears to be a trash talker and occasionally slows up before end of play

Projection: Running back. At a shade under 200 lbs., Jones will likely want to add some weight to his frame in college, but I don't think he should get above 210-215 lbs. Adding too much weight might slow him down when he's not particularly fast in the first place. He's a good all-purpose back who can run the ball inside or stay on the field for third downs to block or be a pass catcher out of the backfield. He probably won't be able to get the edge on many teams, so he's a between-the-tackles type of runner. With a good offensive line, he has a chance to be a productive college runner, but I think he lacks the burst to be a superstar.

Reminds me of: Marshawn Lynch . . . but slower. Jones has the vision and physicality to warrant the Lynch comparison, but Lynch was a home run threat in college. Jones plays mediocre competition in Minneapolis and won't be able to run away from college athletes.

Likelihood of committing to Michigan: Jones is a soft commitment to the Minnesota Gophers and has been committed for nearly a year. He has visited Iowa State and entertained offers from Florida and Michigan. An official visit to Ann Arbor is set for January 24th. Most analysts believe the Wolverines have the best chance of flipping Jones. I believe the recent hire of offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who has had productive running backs at every stop, might be the thing to get Michigan over the hump.

Highlights: Jones's senior highlights can be found on Hudl.

13 comments:

  1. If you compare him to Lynch, I'd say he's less physical. I've never seen a RB run over defenders the way Lynch does.

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  2. Breakaway speed is always nice to have, but the combination of vision, patience and the ability to make a defender miss are way more important. I'm perfectly fine with a RB that can keep moving the chains.

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  3. Do you like him better than Jonathan Hilliman?

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  4. Just the way u talk about him reminds me of a slightly bigger mike hart

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    1. Mike Hart is not a bad comparison here.

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  5. Heh... I'd be perfectly happy with having Jones, and let him redshirt and grow behind the Green-Smith duo. Whatever his deficiencies are, I think he's the best option we have for a RB this year. Hopely we can snag him for the NSD.

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  6. I was thinking of Mike Hart when reading Anonymous 10:43 and then 12:12 mentioned him explicitly. Very much agreed -- breakaway speed is a nice-to-have kind of thing. Mike Hart >>> Carlos Brown (for example)

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    1. I agree that breakaway speed isn't an absolute necessity, but it's nice to have a home run guy on the roster, at least. I'm not sure that Michigan really has one. Derrick Green is probably the closest just because he's probably the fastest in a straight line. And while I agree that Mike Hart was better than Carlos Brown, Brown had some decent games in a Michigan uniform and was downright exciting at times (EMU in 2009, Indiana in 2009, Minnesota in 2007). If Jones commits to Michigan, we'll be stockpiling a bunch of move-the-chains running backs, but not really anybody who can house it from 80 yards out.

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    2. Agree on the breakaway speed comments. Having a thunder and lightning combo is always nice. Nonetheless, I am just ready to see some quality RB's emerge. Even if they are not star-material, I think Jones and the two current freshmen are an uptick from what UM has been recruiting the last several years. It seems that the position is

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  7. Did you notice other moments of him slowing down at the end of a play besides the TD in the UAAA game? Just curious.

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    1. There are one or two times in his Hudl highlights, too, if you watch all the way through. IIRC, there's one a couple plays from the end.

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  8. Not sure being a trash talker is necessarily a bad thing. I usually don't like guys who lack speed, but vision and change-of-direction are more important in my book. Solid offer list too. Sounds like a quality player who could develop into a rotational/3rd down back.

    I'd really rather they bank the RB scholarships to go after Weber instead of progressing further down on the list of guys they want, but I wouldn't be upset if Jones committed to Michigan.

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