The pace of offers to rising juniors has been significantly accelerated across the country. Leading the way in the state of Minnesota is Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones, who picked up his second offer of the process on Tuesday.
"My coach pulled me out of my fourth hour to tell me Michigan State offered me," Jones said. "I was excited, and knowing that Coach [Brad] Salem is from here, he probably has more of a connection with kid from here. Knowing that Michigan State has always been a great program had me excited also."
Salem, Michigan State's running backs coach, is the son of former University of Minnesota head coach Joe Salem. Jones said he knows individuals familiar with Salem, and is himself familiar with the Spartan's program.
"I always liked the way they played," Jones said. "They are a running team and their backs are always [heavily] used, so that's good."
The offer from Michigan State follows a previous offer from the hometown Minnesota Golden Gophers. Jones picked up that offer shortly after concluding his sophomore season, and has maintained close contact with the Gopher's coaching staff.
"Things with Minnesota have been very strong," Jones said. "I went up there during their spring practices and talked with Coach [Jerry] Kill a little bit. It seems the coaching staff is doing a better job than what I have seen in the past, and are making a big improvement on the team and the way they play on the field."
Besides the two schools that have offered, Jones said Louisville, Iowa and UCLA are the next three teams showing the most interest. He is also planning to attend camps at Iowa State, Wisconsin and Nebraska this summer.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Jones is coming off a sophomore campaign in which he rushed for 1,900 yards and 28 touchdowns.