Cardale Jones returning to Columbus for his senior season seemed very unlikely after he lost his starting job to J.T. Barrett, and his comments after the Michigan State game, where he strongly implied he wasn't coming back, made it more clear. After all, why would he want to back to Columbus, and risk not starting again, when he could declare for the NFL Draft? Plus, Jones is projected to graduate, so he could theoretically transfer to another FBS school and play immediately.
Well, scratch that last option as a possibility. Speaking to reporters before the Fiesta Bowl, Cardale Jones made it quite clear that he won't be transferring to another college program. Per two reporters on the scene:
Cardale Jones: "I'd come back and sit another year before I'd transfer somewhere."— Tim Shoemaker (@TimShoemaker) December 30, 2015
With another college off the table, is there any chance that Jones could return to Ohio State? Well....no.
Any chance Jones returns? "No," he said, laughing, "I don't want to be a 24-year-old college student."— Dave Briggs (@DBriggsBlade) December 30, 2015
Just to be clear, Cardale said he's still planning on turning pro, but would not consider transfer.— Tim Shoemaker (@TimShoemaker) December 30, 2015
The quotes from reporters actually on the scene seem to make that pretty clear. While the official paperwork might not be in-in, Cardale Jones will be headed to the NFL Draft after this season.
He'll leave Columbus with a perfect record as a starter, a national championship, and an unrivaled Twitter account and personality. Best of luck to Cardale in the Fiesta Bowl, and with his future NFL career.