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Posted on Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 2:42 p.m.

Sleeper recruit Conelius Jones is Michigan's type of quarterback

By Dave Birkett

Michigan went through its worst season in modern college football history 2 years ago woefully ill-equipped at quarterback.

Now, the position is one of promising strength.

Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson played last year as true freshmen, blue-chip recruit Devin Gardner begins classes Tuesday as an early enrollee, and forgotten prospect Conelius Jones might be the biggest sleeper in Michigan’s 2010 recruiting class.

Jones committed to Michigan last spring over Duke, Stanford and Wake Forest - Clemson and North Carolina turned up the recruiting heat this year - in part because the Wolverines were the first to offer a scholarship.

Michigan began recruiting Jones during the spring of his sophomore year at Spartanburg (S.C.) High, before he had ever played a down of high school football.

Coaches saw film of Jones from spring practice, heard glowing reports about his athleticism from Spartanburg coach Freddie Brown, a former college coach at Wofford, and offered Jones after an eye-popping performance in his spring football game.

Their gamble paid off when Jones turned out to be one of the most dynamic athletes in South Carolina this year.

He led Spartanburg on a surprising run to the state semifinals, running for 771 yards and 17 touchdowns and throwing for 1,603 yards and 8 more scores.Taking out sacks, Jones would have rushed for more than 1,100 yards.

"What I look at when I see him, guys that have come through like Woody Dantzler at Clemson, Pat White," Spartanburg coach Freddie Brown said. "Athletic quarterback, pull it down, run it, throw it guy. He can be a 50-50 (run-pass) guy. A guy that probably runs it a little bit better than he throws it, but Conelius can throw it, too."

If that sounds a little bit like Robinson, Michigan's raw, run-first backup, it's not by accident.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez helped develop the dual-threat Dantzler at Clemson and won big with the elusive White at West Virginia, and while some have speculated Jones will eventually move to receiver or defensive back, Brown insists his best position is quarterback.

"Conelius was offered in person by Coach (David) Cutcliffe up at Duke," Brown said. "He really liked his throwing mechanics. Here’s a guy that’s put two of the better quarterbacks in the league in the Manning boys (Peyton and Eli, who he coached at Tennessee and Ole Miss, respectively). He understands throwing, so I feel good about his evaluation of him."

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Jones said he's not worried about arriving on campus this summer last on Michigan's four-man depth chart at quarterback.

"Competition," he said. "When I get up there with some good competition, just got to compete, try to win the spot."

And he's not worried about one day switching positions, either.

“I’m a quarterback," Jones said. "But I wouldn’t have any problem with not being” one.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Fri, Jan 22, 2010 : 1:31 a.m.

Hey that NCAA investigation is BS why do u think it was anonymous ex-players who said it. There really isnt much proof. It jus came big cuz many other fans from other teams say UM broke NCAA allegations because they know their school does it so they jus blame UM and RR. Well to me that show that they r scared of UM and RR spread option. Once this NCAA investigation is done and RR and UM can do with their business, UM will be winning and shocking the college world. Jus have faith in RR. Many of u bloggers who are not UM fans gotta have a life and go blog on ur teams Articles. Well this kid does look really good. RR will develop Jones and Gardener into Unstoppable players. UM will be back into the nations elites next year. GO BLUE!!!!


Wed, Jan 20, 2010 : 6:51 p.m.

Hey wal mart, maybe we should pick up a couple so-so pro style, slow quarterbacks from Michigan, it sure worked great for state this year. Oh wait. Sorry for your loss sparty. Any big contending schools got a slow, hot garbage quarterback we can pick up because he was overrated and thought he was better than he actually is. Maybe we could transfer him in and be mediocre forever. Just like you.


Wed, Jan 20, 2010 : 6:10 a.m.

what r u talking about? blocking Matthews out? If u think they r goin to start before Matthews then thats good. Matthews is a great player. If they were to start then that'll give em experience. I dont think they will start but if thats wat u were thinking then yeah. Jus gotta get parker, knight, and hopefully baxter and Chrisitian Jones, but i hear lots of commotion that he'll go to FSU =(. Like i said earlier RR is recruiting solid underrated players. Jus have faith in Rod then we all G. Go Blue!!!!

Man in the Mirror

Wed, Jan 20, 2010 : 1:14 a.m.

4 QB's/receivers. The receivers are going to start singing...All I really know is that they don't really care about us! But they will care because you are going to be blocking receivers like Matthews and you are going to like it.


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 11:56 p.m.

WOOT a sleeper QB. Jones looks like the next pat white, maybe even better. Unfortunately he will have a lot of competition but competition brings the best out of the players so its good for UM. The QB core is very young but to me maybe the best in the nation. RR has been recruiting a lot of underrated players. MAny of those are on defense and they look really solid. They have speed and have a lot of room to bulk up so they could last the BigTen. Looks like a very promising class that is really underrated. Hopefully RR can get some more firepower on signing day. Looks very promising class like i said GO BLUE!!!!


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

It's about time! Michigan use to struggle against QB's like this even when they had a good defense. I'm glad we finally got a QB like this. GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 1:07 p.m.

Theo - I always get a good laugh from your posts. Keep it up.


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 11:09 a.m.

He looks pretty good. Welcome to the Wolverine family. From the highlights, I can't believe his stats were not better for the year. He needs to work on getting rid of that little stutter step towards the line he takes right before the snap out of the shotgun. Pretty sure he will be flagged for 5 yards for that move in college.


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

Interesting. Whenever previous Michigan coaches landed a hot recruit there was always some discussion about his character, or how he would make a good "Michigan Man". We don't hear that anymore. Is that because character doesn't matter, or does RR still not know what it means to be a "Michigan Man". Hopefully Mr. Brandon will be giving some lessons.


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 8:59 a.m.

Agree with Tater. Jone's mechanics looked pretty good in the video - better than Robinson's. CJ looks like he can throw pretty well on the run too. His speed looks decent, but not as fast as D-Rob or Gardner. Every spread offense needs at least 3 good QB's. After watching this video and reading the comments about Jones, I'm sticking with my assertion that Robinson should be switched to another position. We need his speed on the field too much and just bringing him in on the odd play to run the ball won't work over the long run. Either receiver or even CB are options. But we'll see. Maybe when they all get into camp and they've had the summer to get better, D-Rob may be the better 3rd QB option and Jones should be switched.


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 8:18 a.m.

Michigan just found its QB of the future. I hope they don't try to covert him to a wide receiver.


Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 11:58 p.m.

Cautious optimism...I think that recruiting may be going a lot better than the Rivals ratings suggest.


Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 10:12 p.m.

4 of the 5 top recruits we got are on D RR knows the D needs talent and depth and thats what he is trying to do.


Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

Maybe this isn't the article to post on, but what is the view for Michigan's defense next year? It sure seems like they're SET on offense.... but the articles are 10-1 on their offense. Why is that?


Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 5:15 p.m.

There are lots of 3-star sleepers in this 2010 class. I have faith in RR finding hidden gems since he did it for 7 years at WVU. With the return to a bowl and more wins this season, Michigan will be an easier sell to 4- and 5-star blue chip recruits.


Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 4:44 p.m.

You know, with speed and athleticism at the QB spot there are lots of interesting things we can do. I would vote for moving Drob and C Jo to RB and let them incorporate passes from time to time at that spot(about 70 run 30 pass). RR is known for being a little unorthodox on offense. We saw Drob toward the end of the season lined up in the slot and even at wide out. Who knows what we could do on offense. Fun stuff for us on offense, too bad were another full season from a shut down defense.


Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 4:33 p.m.

Seems to have a good attitude about both competing for the job and being a team player if he has to move.

Pete Bigelow

Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

JGP, thanks for the heads-up. We've checked with him, and you're correct. No R. I've corrected the story.


Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.

This kid has a lot of upside and a shotout to jake ryan for commin abored him and rogers some nice LBs


Mon, Jan 18, 2010 : 3:51 p.m.

Pretty sure his name is actually Conelius.