Ex-QB from Georgia sees future at U as wide receiver

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 1, 2013 - 6:48 AM

Donovahn Jones passed up five SEC scholarship offers and ventured from his home state of Georgia to Minnesota largely because of the chance to play quarterback.

Gophers freshman Donovahn Jones passed up five SEC scholarship offers and ventured from his home state of Georgia to Minnesota largely because of the chance to play quarterback. Now that he’s a wide receiver, he still thinks he made the right decision.

Jones was a standout quarterback for Dutchtown High School in suburban Atlanta and had offers from Missouri, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Kentucky. They all wanted him to play wide receiver.

The Gophers promised him a shot at quarterback, and it wasn’t bait-and-switch ploy. Jones had built strong relationships with Minnesota’s coaches and knew they might quickly make him a receiver, too.

“They were honest the whole time,” he said.

Jones played quarterback for a few weeks during preseason camp before moving to receiver. Though he has a strong throwing arm, Jones quickly realized how refined the other Gophers quarterbacks — Philip Nelson, Mitch Leidner and Chris Streveler — were as passers.

So Jones said the coaches didn’t need to convince him to move to receiver. That was his preference, too.

Through eight games, Jones has played a limited role in the passing attack, with just one catch for 7 yards. But the Gophers got him more involved in last week’s victory over Nebraska, giving him four rushes on a play known as the jet sweep.

“That’s my favorite play in the whole playbook,” Jones said.

On the jet sweep, Jones lines up at receiver and goes in motion toward the quarterback, who either hands it to him, gives it to the running back or looks to pass.

On Jones’ first three carries he rushed for 13, 11 and 20 yards before Nebraska finally made an adjustment and tackled him for a 2-yard loss.

“We want to get Donovahn involved because he’s a guy who can turn a 20-yard play into an 80-yard touchdown,” Nelson said. “We’ve seen it in practice, and now it’s just a matter of doing it in the games. He’s getting closer and closer every week.”

Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover admits he and the other coaches might have expected too much too soon from Jones.

“I think sometimes when you have a really good athlete, we as coaches try to speed that process up,” Limegrover said. “You almost have to take a step back. He’s a freshman, so even the littlest things are new to him, especially after switching positions.”

Limegrover said he could see Jones “kind of hit a wall,” earlier in the season, trying to digest the things he was learning. So instead of trying to get Jones on the field for 60 plays per game, the Gophers are picking their spots.

“It’s amazing what that has done for his confidence,” Limegrover said. “He’s out there blocking now. He’s jumped into it. He’s made some big catches in practices.”

Jones doesn’t view his switch to wide receiver as temporary. He’s calling it “a permanent move.”

“I don’t want to keep moving around,” he said. “Then I’ll have to wait to learn more plays. So now that I’m here [at receiver], and I’m settled, that’s where I’d like to stay.”

Jones originally committed to Missouri before flipping to Minnesota one day before national signing day in February. For Jones it was a chance to come play for Gophers running back coach Brian Anderson, a close friend of Jones’ father’s from Rockford, Ill., where they both grew up.

Missouri has been one of college football’s biggest surprises this season. The Tigers were ranked No. 5 before losing a heartbreaker last week against South Carolina. Watching Missouri’s success from afar, Jones said he still has no regrets.

“I wouldn’t go back to change anything,” he said. “I’m proud of where I am now.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 7:25 PM
Denver
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
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
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
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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
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: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close