The last week has been very bad for the "Jerry Kill can only recruit at a MAC level" folks, as the Gopher staff continued to persevere up until the eve of National Signing Day with a talent prospect despite his commitment to an SEC program.
Later confirmed by Ryan Burns of Gopher Illustrated, the news is indeed true: Hampton (GA) Dutchtown HS athlete Donovahn Jones has switched his commitment from Mizzou, who wanted him as a wide receiver, to Minnesota, who will let him start out at quarterback.
Jones, a 3 star prospect on the 247Sports Industry Composite, also listed offers from Arkansas, Kentucky, Cincinnati, NC State, South Florida and Wake Forest. He's the 18th member of the 2013 class and second quarterback commitment.
Henry Daily Herald's Brian Paglia with Jones' head coach, Terry Herrod:
"The biggest thing is he's going to get a chance to play quarterback," Dutchtown defensive coordinator and associate head coach Terry Herrod said. ... But Herrod said Minnesota never wavered in its pursuit of Jones and its vision to have play quarterback and be the future face of the program.
ESPNU evaluation ($):
Jones is effective as a quarterback moving the ball with his feet and arm; displays the arm strength for the position however all aspects of footwork and throwing motion will need refinement. ... This prospect presents interesting possibilities as a receiver/running back/quarterback from the shotgun/spread set; his run/pass skills have the potential to challenge defenses both inside and off the edge. Settling into a definite offensive role may take some time however if a red shirt isn't deemed necessary, early situational playing time is a possibility.
ESPNU lists "playmaker" as Jones' key trait.
YouTubes and/or other Highlights
Senior Year highlights via Hudl. (Note the use of Maryland-I in high school. AWESOME)
(Likely Fraudulent) Measureables
Weight: 190-195 lbs.
Fake 40 time: 4.5s
Electronic 40: 4.69s
Electronic Shuttle: 4.10s
Big time athlete, big time pick up. And one hell of a coup by the Gopher staff to poach him away from SEC country right before NSD.
At a minimum, Donovahn signing with the Gophers tomorrow gives Matt Limegrover another outstanding athlete at his disposal on offense. If this whole quarterback thing doesn't work out, Minnesota has a kid with SEC level athleticism to use a wide receiver or perhaps on defense.
However, Jones has a chance at developing into a solid dual threat quarterback if given enough time and tutelage from Coach Z. Donovahn is relatively new to the QB position and could use a redshirt year to season himself on the finer points. Or, the staff could have other ideas, namely to use Jones as a change of pace as a true freshman similar to how they used Jordan Lynch and Chandler Harnish together at NIU.
Jones signing also likely pushes one of the two true freshmen QBs into playing time this year, since the Gophers are unusually thin (and young) at that spot. If something were to happen to Phillip Nelson, the staff would have to use redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner or Dexter Foreman, the latter of whom was left off the 2012 fall camp roster. I could see arguments for both: Streveler is already on campus and a well regarded dual threat guy in his own right, while Jones is a pure athlete at the position. Either way, the Gophers upgraded themselves from a talent perspective today.
Kill and his staff have been on one hell of a roll recently!