Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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Jeff Jones recruiting update: Plans Feb. 5 announcement; coach still thinks Gophers positioned well

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gopher recruiting Updated: January 21, 2014 - 1:14 PM

I sat down with Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones and Washburn coach Giovan Jenkins today for story that will run in Sunday's paper. Here's where things stand with the four-star recruit who now ranks as the nation's No. 44 college prospect in the latest Rivals.com rankings:

* Jones made a verbal commitment to the Gophers last February but has kept his recruiting options open.

* Jones plans to announce his college choice on National Signing Day (Feb. 5) inside Washburn's gymnasium.

* He said his five finalists are Minnesota, Iowa State, Florida, Michigan and Tennessee. Michigan State had been on that list but the Spartans have two running back commitments and recently told Jones they won't be seeking more.

* Jones has made official visits to Minnesota and Iowa State. He will visit Florida on Friday and Michigan on Jan. 31. He won't be visiting Tennessee, but said the coaches have been working on him.

* Jones has yet to qualify academically for a Division-I scholarship, but he is very close. He is within a point of getting a qualifying ACT score and plans to retake the test on Feb. 8. Jenkins said Jones would have two more chances to take the test and qualify if it doesn't happen on this try.

I came away from the interview feeling pretty confident that Jones will wind up sticking with Minnesota.

The decision, he said, "is going to come down to the relationship with the coaches, and the trust we're able to build."

I asked Jenkins for his gut feeling, and he said: "I like his relationship that he has built up with Minnesota. They’ve done a great job. They were in on him first and early and often. They are well within their contact limits, and they do a good job making sure that Jeff knows where he stands with them and their staff.

"They’ve never left me guessing or him. And in terms of a relationship already built and established, it’s going to be very hard for anybody to come in in the 13th hour and make up the ground they’ve already made up in the two three years they’ve known the man."

For more on Jones, check out our Sunday editions.

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73

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