U plucks quarterback out of SEC country

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2013 - 7:02 PM

Georgian Donovahn Jones had a change of heart at the last minute, choosing to bring his dual-threat game north.

hide

Dutchtown quarterback and Minnesota signee Donovahn Jones.

Photo: , Dml - Brian Paglia

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Any coach loves a good recruiting tip, and plenty of well-meaning friends have bent Brian Anderson's ear over the years, telling him about the neighbor or nephew he just had to see.

The Gophers running backs coach always listens. But he was admittedly skeptical when his older brother, Kevin, first told him about Donovahn Jones, the son of an old family friend.

"I'm going, 'Are you kidding me?'" Anderson said. "For one, his dad's not a tall guy. He's 5-6, 5-7 -- built like me -- and his son's 6-3 and one of the best athletes I've ever seen. I'm watching the video of this kid, going, 'Wow.'"

The story of how the Gophers just landed Jones, a Georgia high school recruit with five offers from SEC schools, actually begins in Rockford, Ill. That's where Kevin Anderson and Lamont Jones grew up as close friends, with Brian tagging along, three years behind them.

"I was basically the little one following those guys all around all the time," Anderson said.

In 2001, Anderson joined Jerry Kill's coaching staff at Southern Illinois, moving with the head coach to Northern Illinois and then to Minnesota. Meanwhile, when Donovahn Jones was a seventh-grader, Lamont moved the family from Rockford to the Atlanta suburbs. By his junior year, Jones had emerged as a football and basketball standout at Dutchtown High School.

"It was surreal to watch this kid and the things he did -- not just on the football field, but also on the basketball court," Anderson said.

Terry Herrod, Dutchtown's basketball coach and associate football coach, said Jones has a 39-inch vertical, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds and can throw a football 70 yards.

Herrod said Jones had offers from 28 FBS (Division I) schools, including five from the SEC -- Missouri, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Kentucky. He plays quarterback, but most schools recruited him to play wide receiver.

"He could probably step on the field right now [for Minnesota] and start at receiver," Herrod said. "That's how athletic he is. But with the proper coaching, he can be a dual-threat quarterback of enormous potential."

Jones became a major focal point of the Gophers' recruiting efforts, even though they signed two quarterbacks last year -- Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner -- and received an early commitment this year from another dual-threat quarterback, Chris Streveler.

The Gophers promised Jones a shot at quarterback, knowing wide receiver is a fallback option. The relationship he formed with Anderson and Kill convinced him they have his best interests at heart. Jones threw for 1,609 yards and rushed for 634 yards last fall, earning honorable mention All-State honors. He made a verbal commitment to Missouri but flipped to Minnesota on Tuesday, one day before National Signing Day.

Anderson laid the groundwork, and Kill showed how serious the Gophers were, spending six hours with Jones last summer on his unofficial visit to the U.

"My relationship with Coach Kill, ultimately, was the deciding factor," Jones said. "The position didn't really matter because I'm willing to play quarterback or receiver."

Nelson is the incumbent starter, and it would make sense for the Gophers to redshirt Jones and/or Streveler, creating a two-year separation between present and future quarterbacks.

"With our situation at quarterback, we don't have to be in a hurry with [Jones]," Anderson said. "You don't have to sit there and say, 'Get him on the field right away; move him to receiver.' He could be a three-year starting quarterback or whatever. And if not, you could move him, and he could be an All-Big Ten receiver."

Herrod said Jones could easily carry 25 more pounds of muscle on his lean 190-pound frame, and the coach is sure he'll put in the work.

"He's very humble," Herrod said. "He's a really good kid. You're not going to have to worry about him hanging out in Minneapolis. He'll be in his dorm room. He's an old soul."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 53 3rd Qtr 7:05
LA Lakers 59
Denver 47 2nd Qtr 3:01
Golden State 60
Portland 54 2nd Qtr 0:32
LA Clippers 44
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 3rd Prd :29
Colorado 7
Carolina 2 3rd Prd 14:37
Edmonton 3
Columbus 1 2nd Prd 1:50
Anaheim 3
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 23 3rd Qtr 4:10
Boise State 48
(6) Oregon 31 2nd Qtr 5:24
California 14
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 6:01
Calgary 15
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close