A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The NFL…

Before going any further, congratulations to Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes. I am still basking in the happiness of winning the national championship, and will have posts in the future to best articulate my feelings on this accomplishment. Needless to say, I wanted to make sure I added my congratulations to the many that have been directed to Coach Meyer and the 2014 Ohio State coaches and players on this outstanding achievement.

The popular and probable consensus opinion regarding Cardale Jones and his announcement was that Jones was going to declare for the NFL. Over the previous days, many people asked me for my opinion, and now is as good as any for me to articulate why I believed Jones was going to the NFL ~

Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller were recruited by former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel in the 2011 recruiting class. To shore up his grades, and provide some separation from Miller, Jones agreed to enroll at Fork Union Military Academy in 2011.

Upon returning to Columbus in 2012, Jones was faced with the following realities – the head coach who recruited him was gone, and replaced with someone who neither recruited him, nor wanted him. Braxton Miller had completed a freshman season in 2011 that had captivated the fanbase, as well as the incoming coaching staff. As someone who attended the 2012 Ohio State spring game, the fact that Jones did not garner a single snap in an intrasquad scrimmage spoke volumes about where Jones stood in the eyes of the coaching staff.

And then during the 2012 season, Jones decided to tweet…THIS.

Yes, I guess you could say I was fairly certain Cardale Jones was eventually going to leave Columbus, and probably not in a positive fashion in the eyes of Coach Meyer or any of the other Ohio State coaches.

Jones played sparingly in 2013, and was beaten out for the starting quarterback position by J.T. Barrett in the 2014 fall camp after Miller went down with a season-ending injury. Again, there was speculation that Jones would transfer after losing the job to Barrett, especially after being the starting quarterback throughout all of the 2014 spring practices.

Flash forward to November 29th, 2014. Ohio State is in a dogfight with That Team Up North, and J.T. Barrett is knocked out for the season. Anyone who has listened to me throughout this past season on any of the Men of the Scarlet and Gray podcasts can recall how I often lamented how infrequently Jones played, especially when Ohio State had substantial leads. I actually tweeted after Barrett went down about this…

We all know how gloriously it turned out. I believe @JeffSvoboda articulated it well…

When I think about being 22 years old, with a child to provide for…I can honestly say that I probably would have taken the money. Quite honestly, even without a child, turning down the money at 22 years old would have been probably impossible, as I reflect upon it.

No matter how it turns out in 2015, Cardale Jones has secured his place in the hearts and minds of Ohio State fans going forward.

Will Jones be the Ohio State starter at quarterback next season? It is certainly possible, but if Ohio State fans have learned anything this past season, anything is possible, especially at the quarterback position. Jones does have one advantage going into the 2015 season…

No matter how this all turns out, at least Ohio State fans can count upon Tyvis Powell to keep Cardale Jones in line throughout the 2015 season…

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