The Michigan Wolverines did in fact extend another scholarship on National Signing Day this year, but it was to a junior prospect rather than a last-second addition to the 2014 class. Ronald Jones II became the sixth junior running back to receive a Michigan offer after a phone call from offensive line coach Darrell Funk relayed the news to Jones’ head coach on February 5.
“Coach [Darrell] Funk had come to my school Wednesday,” said Jones. “Then my head coach got a call from Coach Funk. He told me that I had the offer.”
“Me and Funk talk about the O-Line and how he has all these big hogs up front that I need to run behind,” he later added.
As the centerpiece of a prolific McKinney North offense, Jones registered 2,406 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns on 244 carries last year. Checking in at 6-0 and 185 lbs., Jones displays high level athleticism and top-end speed… two qualities he relied upon greatly throughout the 2013 season.
“I think it went great to be honest,” said Jones. “Not just individually, but as a team. We went 5-2 in districts. I know that record might not sound like much, but it’s the best record we’ve ever had.”
Based on his physical merits alone, Jones displays the tools necessary to compete for early playing time in college. However, another of Jones’ valuable skills isn’t as readily apparent.
“I think my leadership is great,” said Jones. “Not necessarily with vocal leadership, but I will lead by example. I will work hard and get my guys going. I get north and south very quickly. I just use one juke move and go so the defense can’t get their hands on me.”
Since the end of that memorable season the four-star running back has fielded a bevy of BCS offers. In the last two weeks alone his offer sheet expanded to 16 schools thanks to the recent additions of Alabama, TCU, and Michigan.
Said Jones, “I have received offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Oklahoma State. I am hoping to get an offer from USC, Miami (FL.) and Notre Dame, so we will see how that goes. I am talking to Auburn as well.”
Despite the distance that stands between his current home and Ann Arbor, Jones is at least somewhat aware of Michigan’s rich tradition.
“I know a little bit,” said Jones. “I remember Desmond Howard was on the cover of NCAA and he won the Heisman. Then I remember the team with Chad Henne, Mario Manningham, and Mike Hart. He was a good running back too.”
While his view of the Maize & Blue is certainly positive, it may not be enough to overcome the distance hurdle. Jones is in the process of planning his off-season visits, and the Wolverines are not in the immediate picture.
“They probably won’t [be visited] to be honest,” said Jones. “If there is a great opportunity away from home then I would take it, but I would say location would be a factor.”
How much of a factor? Only time will tell.