For the most part, the Ohio State coaching staff didn't have much trouble keeping the previously committed players to stick with the Dream 14 recruiting class. In fact, only one commit took a visit to a rival school after committing to the Buckeyes in the form of Chicago (IL) De La Salle Institute offensive tackle Jamarco Jones, who was the highest rated offensive lineman the Bucks signed in the 2014 recruiting class.
Take a trip down memory lane and find out what kind of early impact he could have for the Buckeyes, as we bring you "Bucks to the Future", the Jamarco Jones story.
Weight: 290 pounds
247Sports Composite: 4-star
High School: De La Salle Institute, Chicago, IL
Jones' recruitment got started in the summer of 2012 (from an Ohio State standpoint) at OSU's one day football camp, where he picked up offers from Toledo and the Buckeyes. He wasn't done there however, as in the next week he would go to camps at Michigan and Michigan State and earn offers from those two schools as well. Going into the camps, he held offers from Vanderbilt and Illinois.
After speaking with Jones following his camp performance, I knew the Buckeyes would be in the race to land him all the way as he was pretty excited about getting the offer:
"I had a question for the coaches, so I called them on my way back home, and it was then they offered me," Jones said. "I'm very interested in Ohio State. They have a nice campus and a great football tradition."
At the time of his offer, Jones was planning on making a decision during his senior season and he was pretty close to sticking to the timetable all the way through his recruitment.
One important thing to note is Jones was very close with former Ohio State defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, basically from the moment he got the scholarship offer.
The scholarship offers would continue to roll in as the summer of 2012 moved along. Before the summer was over, he added offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Iowa, Purdue, and Northwestern.
In addition to picking up those offers, he took visits to Notre Dame, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Purdue, and a return trip to Ohio State for the first ever Friday Night Lights camp with his Core 6 training group.
Jones had a pretty good time at the camp. He continued to speak highly of the Buckeyes when I spoke to him after the camp:
"It went well," Jones said. "There were a lot of former players there. I got to work with Orlando Pace and Coach Warinner more."
One of his favorite parts of the camp was the time he spent worker with legendary Ohio State/St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace:
"It was great learning from one of the best tackles to ever come out of Ohio State and a guy that was a great NFL player," he stated. "It was a great experience."
He also stated that he had a pretty good relationship with Vrabel, who recruited the Chicago area:
"Coach Vrabel," he said. "He talks to me about my high school team and also gives me tips on ways to improve my game."
Heading into the 2012 football season, Jones' recruitment was very wide open, though the Buckeyes were definitely a major player in his recruitment along with other Big Ten schools and Notre Dame.
Just a couple of days into the football season, Jones added an offer from Nebraska. Then just a couple of weeks later he took an unofficial visit to Michigan State.
He wasn't done adding offers as he also picked up Ole Miss and Wisconsin before heading out on a boatload of visits. In the next couple of weeks, he would go on to visit Notre Dame, Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Purdue. After those visits, he added an offer from the Florida Gators and took a visit to Illinois.
Next up for Jones was another return trip to Ohio State for "The Game" between the Buckeyes and Michigan. While in Columbus he got to see quite a bit of Ohio State's campus.
The trip to Columbus was a success for the standout offensive lineman as he had a great experience taking in the big game:
"It was great," he said. "Just the whole atmosphere in Columbus was great on game day. The game's environment was awesome. It was really cool to be at a really close game."
While in Columbus Jones got to see a lot of things on Ohio State's campus:
"We got to Columbus on Friday. I got to tour campus, go through some of the different buildings, and meet with the academic counselors," Jones said. "Then I got to go to the walkthrough for the Michigan game and after that I got to go to the Ohio State basketball game. Saturday I went to the football game. It was really fun to watch."
After visiting Ohio State for the game, Jones' recruitment was pretty quiet for the next couple of months. He took a visit to Northwestern and picked up more scholarship offers from the likes of Mississippi State, Maryland, and Tennessee.
His first visit of the New Year was to Columbus for Ohio State's February 10th junior day, where he had another very productive visit. It was starting to look like the Buckeyes had emerged as the front runners for his commitment, but he was not yet ready to pull the trigger on a commitment.
Jones wasn't done picking up scholarships either as in the next couple of months he added ones from Florida State, UCLA, Arizona State, Virginia, Cal, Arkansas, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma to an already impressive offer sheet.
In April of 2013, Jones made another swing through the Midwest checking out Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Michigan State. After taking these visits, it was starting to become clear that a decision from Jones was not too far away from going down.
When June rolled around, Jones decided he would make trips to his three finalists: Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State, before making his college decision on June 27th.
The first visit was to Michigan on June 15th. Next was Michigan State on June 16th. He then wrapped things up on June 17th back in Columbus once again. All of the visits went well and he was set to make his decision about a week after visiting all of the schools (with Ohio State being the perceived favorite).
Many thought it was close between Ohio State and Michigan State, but in the end, Jones decided Ohio State would be the best place to play his college football and he committed to the Buckeyes on June 27, 2013.
Things were pretty quiet on the Jones front for the rest of 2013. Really, the only notable events were his two visits to Columbus, the first of which was at the end of October, where he watched the Buckeyes destroy Penn State. A couple of months later he made his official visit to Columbus, where he got to spend time with many of his future teammates and coaches.
In the middle of January, news broke that Ohio State defensive line coach Mike Vrabel would be leaving the Buckeyes for a job in the NFL with the Houston Texans. Despite coaching a different position, Vrabel was Jones' primary recruiter. While many knew of Jones' close relationship with Vrabel, most thought he was still firmly committed to Ohio State.
Those thoughts changed just about a week later as Jones announced he would be taking an official visit to Michigan State just a week before National Signing Day. Despite an in-home visit from Stan Drayton, Ed Warinner, and Larry Johnson Sr., Jones decided to go through with the last minute trip to East Lansing.
This caused some serious worry amongst Ohio State fans as last minute visits like this are essentially never good news. Many people thought he would flip to the Spartans following the visit. After wrapping up a solid visit, he was set to announce his final decision on the eve of National Signing Day.
Late on the evening of February 4, 2014, Jones re-affirmed his commitment to Ohio State and signed and faxed his National Letter of Intent to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center the very next day.
I definitely wouldn't bet on Jones (or any freshman for that matter) cracking the starting lineup this coming fall, but he is one of two freshmen along the offensive line (Demetrius Knox being the other) who could make their way into the two deep if he performs well this summer.
Of the five offensive linemen Ohio State signed in the 2014 recruiting class, Demetrius Knox is the safest bet to be an impact player, but I think Jones has the highest ceiling of the group. He's very athletic and is already pretty good at both run blocking and pass blocking.
While we might not see a ton of him on the field this year, he definitely has a chance to be big contributor providing he develops according to plan.
SB Nation recruiting analyst Bud Elliott had the following to say about the future Buckeye offensive tackle:
"There is a lot to like about Jamarco Jones. As with any lineman, the first thing to evaluate is size. Jones is very well put together at close to 6'5 and 300 pounds, although I am not sure if he has great length.
Jones is able to bend his knees and drop his weight into a block, as opposed to bending at the waist. I also like that Jones will move his feet through initial contact and finish off his opponent. He isn't satisfied with simply making a block. After talking with him this summer and finding him to be a nice, laid-back kid, I was glad to see that he turns on the nasty between the white lines."
Land-Grant Holy Land football analyst Christopher Jason also had something to say about Jones:
Jones could add a little bulk to his already large frame, but his size is ideal to play tackle at Ohio State. Jones finishes his blocks and drives his opponent into the ground on the regular. He gets low on smaller players and uses his leg strength to drive defenders in the run game. He has basic pass pro-technique down and will eventually be a starter at tackle for the Buckeyes.
Did you know...
- Jones played his high school football with Nebraska running back commit, Mikale Wilbon.
- In addition to starring on the football field, Jones played basketball for his high school.