Updated: 02/05/2014 2:53 PM
Created: 02/05/2014 1:10 PM KSTP.com
By: Chris Long
In the end, Jerry Kill landed the state's biggest fish.
Washburn running back Jeff Jones announced he's committed to Kill's Minnesota Gophers.
Jones made the announcement in front of a packed gym at Washburn High, where he chose his words carefully... adding a last touch of drama to a process that he says never rally had any drama at all.
"I have to apologize to the state of Minnesota and my family," Jones began, causing a fleeting moment of panic for staunch Gopher supporters before completing the sentence, "...for taking so long to make the decision."
He then reached into a blue Washburn High bag and pulled out a maroon University of Minnesota hat - a move greeted by a rousing cheer from his classmates.
Jones credited Kill and his staff for their commitment, and being the first to show interest in him.
While Michigan, Florida and Iowa State appeared to creep into Jones' recruiting picture late in the game, Jones confided he barely considered any schools aside from Minnesota.
Washburn coach Gio Jenkins says Jones still has work to do as a partial academic qualifier. He'll need to raise his grade point average and/or standardized test scores to meet full qualification criteria.