I was a little afraid we might hear this news at some point in December or January (hat tip to Joe C):
Jeff Jones, the Gophers’ most highly touted recruit of the past decade, is transferring to Iowa Western Community College after falling behind academically this semester, coach Tracy Claeys told the Star Tribune on Wednesday.
I never like to speculate on academics for players until something is public (which is why you never heard me publicly wonder about Jones' status), but all fall I couldn't help but wonder if some of JJ's troubles with seeing the field could be academically related. This would seem to indicate that was probably at least a contributing factor along with the various injuries he suffered throughout the season.
Jones was the top rated recruit in Minnesota's 2014 recruiting class (and the top Minnesota recruit in the internet era) as a nationally ranked consensus 4 star. After being admitted to Minnesota Jeff sat out the 2014 season due to eligibility issues but joined the Gophers this past spring. He played sparingly during the 2015 season, but at wide receiver instead of at running back. Late in the year he practiced with the defensive backs but did not play in that new role.
Iowa Western was the junior college that Jeff was considering when it wasn't clear if he would be admitted to Minnesota. Once he earns a two year degree at IWCC, he'll be able to transfer back to a Division 1 football school to continue his career. Will that be Minnesota? There's no way to know. There are more important things that football though and we wish Jeff the best of luck at Iowa Western. Hopefully we'll see him in maroon and gold again in the future!