Illinois, Iowa offer 2014 back

Two programs saw all it needed to see when Jeff Jones (Minneapolis/Washburn) competed at the inaugural R.A.S. camp this past Saturday.

On Sunday, Jones picked up offers from Illinois and Iowa, as both had coaches at the camp Saturday.

“I was pretty excited. It kind of caught me off guard,” Jones said of the Iowa offer. “… I know tha they produce great backs every year. They’re a pretty solid program. I don’t know much about the staff but overall they’re a pretty solid program.”

The Hawkeyes invited Jones to camp during the summer previously, and the 6-foot, 190-pound running back hopes to make it down.

Much like Iowa, Jones did not have much contact from Illinois before the offer. In fact, he did not recall even receiving a letter from the Illini.

“I don’t know much about their program,” he said, “but I know they’re a pretty good team every year. They’re not just a team you walk through. They’re a solid program.”

Michigan State offered Jones a little more than two weeks ago, and Jones already has a connection with Spartans’ running backs coach Brad Salem. Salem is from Minneapolis as his father, Joe, was the head coach at Minnesota from 1979-83.

“I was pretty happy with that offer,” Jones said. “(Salem) is pretty great. We got to talk a little bit.”

Minnesota was Jones’ first offer, and he holds a special place for the home team.

“I love the new coaching staff and Coach [Jerry] Kill,” he said. “The coaching staff is doing a great job turning the program around.”

Two programs showing the most interest in Jones that have yet to offer are Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

Jones is not too familiar with Notre Dame, but he knows about Michael Floyd, a Minneapolis native and former Notre Dame receiver who was taken in the first round of the NFL draft in April.

Like any running back, Jones is excited about the potential of being the next big-time back at Wisconsin.

“I love the running backs,” Jones said. “[Running backs] Coach [Thomas] Hammock was here, so I know him pretty well.”