In-depth with Minnesota's first verbal for 2005

QB Marcel Jones was receiving interest from other Division I schools, but after making his decision Tuesday, he talked with about Minnesota's coaches, the decision-making process, the Elite 11 QB camp he attended and his strengths and weaknesses as a standout QB at Simley.

Simley High School standout QB Marcel Jones 6-3, 205, 4.7 was offered a scholarship to the University of Minnesota on Thursday. After taking the weekend to think about it, he spent Monday and Tuesday talking it over with head coach Glen Mason and assistants Moe Ankney and Tony Peterson. Tuesday he announced to the Minnesota staff that he was going to accept the offer to play for the Gophers.

"I visited Wisconsin and attended some games at Iowa, but when I went to Minnesota I knew that was the place for me. I felt the most comfortable there. That's what my whole decision was going to be based on. If I didn't feel good at a Division-1 school, then I would've went D-2, or even D-3," said Jones.

What was it about Minnesota, besides being comfortable, that made it the right place for him?

"I liked the coaches, the way they run things there. They are straightforward with you, there's no beating around the bush. They tell you what they expect from you, and the rest is up to the individual."

Minnesota was the only offer Jones had; he was receiving interest from Wisconsin, Illinois, Oregon, Iowa State, Michigan, Indiana and Louisville. He recently returned from a trip to Miami to participate in tryouts for the prestigious Elite 11 QB camp.

"I think I did well," he said of the camp. "When they started there were 50 kids. They then broke it down to the final six. After they have their other tryouts they said they would contact us and let us know."

How does it feel to be considered one of the best QB's in the nation, and being invited to an event like this?

"I thought I was that good of a QB, but it is nice to be reassured by others," he said.

Jones broke out during his sophomore season at Simley. He completed 112 passes out of 207 attempts for 1,621 yards and nine TDs. The dual threat athlete also rushed for 527 yards and 12 TDs. In 2003, his junior season, he completed 78 passes out of 146 attempts for 1,567 yards, 10 TDs and 12 INTs, while rushing for 348 yards on 93 attempts. The interceptions are one thing he wants to correct.

"My decision-making is the one aspect I need to work on. I want to cut down on my mistakes."

We've heard about the weaknesses, now what are his strengths?

"I thrive on pressure, when the game is on the line I want the ball in my hands. Ninety percent of our wins we were down with less than 2 minutes to go in the game and we'd have to drive 60-70 yards for the winning score. That's where I am my best," he said.

Now that he has made his decision to attend Minnesota, is he glad it's done?

"In a way I'll miss the attention with the coaches coming to the school to see me. On the other hand, I have a great opportunity at Minnesota. It feels right to go there, and I'll get to play in front of my family and friends."

And when he told those close to him of his decision?

"My father was happy he wanted me to go to Minnesota. I have an uncle who lives in Wisconsin so he wasn't so happy. He will still get to watch me play."

So what's next on the agenda for Marcel Jones?

"I'm going to the Nike Combine at Iowa. As far as camps, I will go to Minnesota," he said. "I'm not sure about any others. I am committed to Minnesota and I wont go back on my word."

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