The Empire State pipeline for Ohio State once again comes through, as four-star Matthew Jones has now officially signed with Ohio State.
Jones is the No. 2 highest ranked recruit in the state of New York, — only behind fellow Buckeye, tight end Jeremy Ruckert -- and hails from Eramus Hall in Brooklyn, the same school that gave the Buckeyes Curtis Samuel and Jahsen Wint.
Originally rated as one of the elite defensive tackle prospects in the country, Jones is now rated at the top center prospect nationally, and that’s where Ohio State intends to play him. The 247 Sports Composite lists the 6-4, 300-pound Jones as the 55th best prospect in the country, regardless of position. He picked the Buckeyes over major powers like Clemson, Alabama, Oregon, Michigan and others.
Here’s a look at what exactly he brings to the table.
Jones is unique, because he’s one of those rare players that could excel playing a number of positions at a school like Ohio State. He plays on both sides of the line for his high school, Erasmus Hall, and truly has the talent to play offense or defense at the next level. While Larry Johnson and Greg Schiano would certainly love to have him at defensive tackle, he’ll likely start his career in Columbus at offensive guard or center, because of the depth Ohio State currently has on the defensive line.
Jones spends most of his time at tackle right now, but has the perfect size and athleticism to move inside to guard or center. True centers are few and far between coming out of high school, so finding a player with the size of Jones (6-foot-4, 315) and the mobility needed to play center is a big deal for any school.
When it comes to his on the field play, Jones is one of the most refined offensive lineman in the entire 2018 class. He uses his legs extremely well, and often over powers defenders with his strength. If there’s anything Jones needs to work on, it’s his pass protection, as Erasmus prefers to run the ball, but that’s pretty common with high school lineman. He’s not bad in pass protection, he’ll just need to work on reading the defense and leverage related things. That’s what Greg Studrawa is for, and that’s something they’ll spend a ton of time working on.
Barring any injuries, Jones shouldn’t have to start as a true freshman, and that time to grow and learn the system will be extremely valuable to his development. Once Jones does see the field at Ohio State, he should be ready to go, be it at guard, or center.