Sometimes a college quarterback must move to wide receiver to succeed in the NFL. Just a take a look at Terrelle Pryor of the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans rookie Braxton Miller.
Both were signal callers for the Ohio State Buckeyes who realized–Miller during his senior year and Pryor once he graduated–that their skill sets for the next level were better used as receivers.
One pass catcher at Iowa State realized he was a better fit as a receiver than a gunslinger before he played a down for the Cyclones.
DeShaunte Jones was the quarterback for one of the top football programs in the state of Ohio–Colerain, located in Cincinnati. During his senior year at Colerain, Jones passed for 785 yards and ran for more than 1,860 yards.
While being such a great dual-threat signal caller in one of the most competitive football states, Jones faced a limitation: His frame didn’t fit the typical collegiate quarterback mold–he stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 175 pounds. He and Iowa State both realized his attributes best fit the receiver template.
Once Jones arrived in Ames, he immediately impressed the Cyclone coaching staff and his teammates.
“I’ve got just as much trust in DeShaunte for him to do his job as Allen Lazard and Dondre Daley,” said ISU quarterback Jacob Park. “To me he’s a veteran. He makes veteran decisions, he makes veteran moves. He’s a hell of a player.”
While the young pass catcher has shown an ability to become a tremendously dynamic option for this Cyclone offense, head coach Matt Campbell thought at one point there was no way he and his coaching staff would convince Jones to play for them.
Before Campbell was the head man at Iowa State, he was the leader of the Toledo Rockets. That was the first time he saw Jones play and talked to the now-emerging playmaker. Campbell was able to create a good relationship with Jones and his parents at Toledo. However, since Jones was such an elite athlete at one of the top programs in Ohio, big schools such as Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State started to express interest in him.
In the face of such competition, Campbell and Toledo eased back on their recruitment of Jones… that is, until Campbell landed the Iowa State job.
“DeShaunte and his mother and his brother had come up to see us,” Campbell said. “I think we were the odd man looking out, and as soon as we got here, we rekindled that relationship, trying to see what was going on.”
None of the major programs–that forced Campbell to originally back off Jones–pulled the trigger on offering a scholarship. The receiver ended up at Iowa State.
Through four games in the cardinal and gold, the freshman is already making his presence known.
In the Cyclones’ first two games–Northern Iowa and Iowa–Jones was rarely used. He recorded only one reception for eight yards. However, in Iowa State’s last two games–TCU and San Jose State–Cyclone fans finally got a taste of what Jones’ coaches and teammates already have seen in practice.
Against the Horned Frogs, Jones tallied two receptions–one went for 41 yards–for 44 yards. Against the Spartans, the freshman caught three passes for 78 yards–including one that went for a 49 yard touchdown–and two scores.
— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) September 24, 2016
So far on the season, Jones is ISU’s third-leading receiver with six grabs for 130 yards and two touchdowns. That gives the young Cyclone an average of 21.7 yards per reception, first on the team.
“I’ve seen this out of DeShaunte since he got here,” Park said. “The public is just seeing it now.”
With playing alongside preseason All-Big 12 receiver Allen Lazard–who is expected to receive a lot of double-teams–Jones will continue to demonstrate how talented he is to Cyclone fans and college football fans in general.
All quotes were obtained firsthand.