Jeff Jones’ fall from top Gophers football recruit continues, as the 20-year-old Minneapolis native was jailed again this week.
Jones, the 2014 running back recruit who left the program last year, was booked into Hennepin County jail on Wednesday after violating the terms of a conditional release from jail for the second time, all stemming from a May 13 arrest. Jones was then charged with felony drug possession, recorded in court documents as a “not small amount of marijuana,” after being arrested by Bloomington police.
He was released May 16 after his initial arrest and was free for nearly two months before being jailed July 13 for failing to meet bail conditions. Released again on July 25 with a longer list of bail conditions, Jones was wanted again not four weeks later. On Aug. 17, a warrant for his arrest was filed, stating Jones had failed to complete a drug dependency program, did not submit a required urine sample and missed his weekly meeting.
The day before the warrant was issued, the former Minneapolis Washburn star took to Twitter, tweeting on Aug. 16 a picture of a Star Tribune article about his arrest and an image of a quote that read, in part “None of us know who we are until we fail.” It continued: “They say every man is defined by his reaction to any given situation. Well who would you want to define you? Someone else or yourself?” The quote Jones tweeted appears to be signed “Nip H.”
On Wednesday, he was jailed with bail set at $30,000. Court documents list his next court appearance to be Aug. 31.
From promise to trouble
Jones was stopped by Bloomington police on May 13 for speeding. A routine check by police showed Jones had a revoked Minnesota driver’s license and a felony drug warrant from Iowa, according to the Hennepin County attorney’s office.
When police searched Jones, they found 1.78 grams of cocaine and a loaded .38-caliber handgun, the arrest record said. Jones said the cocaine in his sock did not belong to him. He did say that the gun was his and that it was for protection.
The arrest marked a public moment of trouble for the one-time star. Jones dominated as a running back at Washburn High, earned a four-star recruiting rating and was pursued by the likes of Florida and Michigan. He was named Minnesota’s Mr. Football after rushing for 1,525 yards and scoring 42 touchdowns as a senior. When he grabbed a Gophers hat on national signing day in 2014, the Washburn gymnasium, packed with fans and media, erupted with cheers. He was regarded as the highest-profile Gophers football recruit in many years.
Jones, who was raised by his grandparents in south Minneapolis because of hardships at home with his parents, fell short of qualifying academically out of high school. He was granted an initial eligibility waiver from the NCAA, which allowed him to use his scholarship, but he was academically ineligible to play in 2014. He was switched from running back to wide receiver before the 2015 season but appeared in just three games while dealing with setbacks that included migraines, according to former coach Jerry Kill.
In December, Jones announced he was transferring to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. Gophers coach Tracy Claeys left the door open at the time for Jones’ return, saying, “He’s more than welcome to come back [to the Gophers].”
But Jones was kicked off the Iowa Western team in April for violating team rules, coach Scott Strohmeier said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. Jones pleaded not guilty in March to charges of assault with intent to inflict serious injury in Iowa, according to Pottawattamie County court records. The case has yet to be resolved.
Staff writers Karen Zamora and Dennis Brackin contributed to this report.