The Transformation of Cardale Jones

On October 5, 2012 at 8:43 AM, Cardale Jones tweeted out one of the most infamous tweets of all time. We all know what it says, so I will just leave it at that. I’ll admit that I had never heard of Mr. Jones when the ESPN and media reports broke that an “Ohio State QB tweeted something stupid.” The nation bashed the Buckeyes and Cardale for it and as we all remember they were coming off a 6-7 season after Tatgate while looking at the Michigan game as the season finale due to sanctions. It was gasoline on a dumpster fire.

Fast forward 2 years and 3 months, and Cardale Jones had just beaten Wisconsin, top ranked Alabama and second ranked Oregon to win the National Championship. Who saw this coming? Not me. Not anyone. Maybe not even Cardale.

To add to that, Cardale announced today that he would be returning for another season with Ohio State because he wanted to graduate. From his press conference this afternoon at the Ginn Academy (Via ESPN):

“It’s everybody’s dream and goal when they play football or any collegiate sport to make it to the next level, but at my point in my career, I feel like it’s best for me to go back to school… [Meyer] always preaches to us that education is what is most important, and he knows and we know that with all three of us back next year, it’s going to bring out the best in us.”

Jones also mentioned that he knows his football days will come to an end someday and that he needs to be prepared for that. He would like to be a Financial Planner once that day comes.

That is an incredible and unprecedented transformation for a young man in just two short years. It is also a refreshing story in college football that a star player values his education and will pass up millions of potential dollars in the NFL to take classes and graduate. No matter how Cardale’s professional career pans out, I believe 100 percent that he will be a productive person in society and serve as a role model for thousands of kids who were in similar situations to him (especially those who hail from East Cleveland).

As a student at The Ohio State University, I worked at an on-campus pizza shop to help pay for various expenses any college student has (beer, mostly). Most of my shifts were in the morning from 8-12pm where we would serve breakfast then switch to lunch half way through that time period. Jones would come in nearly every day I worked while usually ordering the same thing. Breakfast Sandwich with Bacon, Egg, and Cheese or some variation of that order was his go-to.

Plenty of other players would come in at times too, and being the fan that I am, I would always try to talk to them and make conversation. Without naming names, many of the players wouldn’t pay too much attention to me (which is fine- I’m sure they get that all the time). But Cardale would always talk to me which I thought was just the coolest thing in the world. I would usually have SportsCenter on so we would usually discuss the current day’s sports news, giving predictions, etc.

I never saw him as the troubled freshman who had academic issues. He was always very courteous to everyone and was never without a smile. So now that he has come full circle, I have to say that I couldn’t be more proud of him. I cannot say enough about how great it is that he values his education that much- Woody Hayes would be very proud.

12 Gauge will go down as a legend at Ohio State for many reasons but none more than being the 3rd string Quarterback who led the Buckeyes to a National Championship after everything he went through.

And the best part is, Cardale Jones will one day have a degree from The Ohio State University which is a huge accomplishment in its own. Looks like in the end, he came here to play school.

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