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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Jones still short of qualifying academically; several options for eligibility at U

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gopher recruiting Updated: June 30, 2014 - 4:49 PM

Jeff Jones was unable to raise his overall ACT score on his latest attempt, leaving it uncertain whether the highly rated recruit from Minneapolis Washburn will qualify for his scholarship.

The former Minneapolis Washburn running back retook the ACT exam June 14, needing just a slight improvement to qualify. According to Washburn coach Giovan Jenkins, Jones improved in some sections but not with his overall score.

The NCAA uses a sliding scale that combines grade-point average and test scores to determine eligibility. Jones had a high enough ACT score to qualify, but needed an even higher score because of a lower GPA.

Jones also is re-taking two summer school classes, which could allow him to replace two low grades from earlier in his high school tenure with higher grades. That would raise his GPA, but it’s uncertain if it would be enough to qualify. Summer school ends July 10.

The Gophers will be awaiting word from the NCAA clearinghouse.

Plan A is for Jones to qualify for his scholarship.

Plan B is for Jones to go to Iowa Western Community College for two years.

But there’s a new wrinkle ahead of Plan B. Call it Plan 1A.

People familiar with Jones situation have said he could still end up at the University this fall. If he’s admitted, he wouldn’t be on scholarship, so he would have to take out a school loan.

He wouldn’t be eligible to work out with the football team. But he could get his feet settled in college and work out in the weight room with an eye toward competing for the Gophers in 2015. He would need to finish at least 24 University credits by the end of the 2015 summer session, with at least a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to compete for the Gophers that fall.

Rivals.com ranked Jones as the nation’s seventh-best running back on national signing day in February. As a senior, he had 1,525 yards rushing, 493 yards receiving and scored 42 touchdowns.

In January, he was named co-MVP of the Under Armour All-American Game, which featured several of the nation’s top recruits.

The Gophers already had strong running back depth going into this season, with seniors David Cobb (1,202 yards last year) and Donnell Kirkwood (926 yards in 2013), junior Rodrick Williams and redshirt freshman Berkley Edwards. Jones might have redshirted this fall anyway.

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