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Playing school paid off for Cardale Jones

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The former Ohio State quarterback finished his degree and graduated this weekend.

Jones attempted only 11 passes all year, but but he heads into training camp as Taylor’s backup and--more important--a college graduate.”

-Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

Buffalo Bills quarterback Cardale Jones has learned a lot from his past, as evidenced by not only his actual graduation from the Ohio State University, but also by poking fun at an infamous tweet he sent out years ago wondering why, exactly, student athletes were required to go to class.

The former Buckeye quarterback decorated his graduation cap with the statement “Sum 1 once said ‘We ain’t come here to play school,” in reference to a 2012 tweet in which Jones declared “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS”.

A post shared by Cardale Jones (@cardale7_) on

Jones later deleted his Twitter account and, upon reinstating it, has been an advocate for his own education, declaring things like “It’s only a lesson if you learned from it.” And now, Jones has earned a degree in African-American and African Studies.

He has had significant support along the way. Texas head coach Tom Herman, Jones’s former offensive coordinator, was on hand for the ceremony, reportedly turning down an opportunity to meet Migos and Chance the Rapper in Texas.

Congrats, Cardale!

“Under the NFL’s rookie wage scale, there isn’t much to haggle over when it comes to a player’s first contract. They sign for four years (with a possible fifth-year option for first-round selections), and the money is always more or less the same every year contingent on draft position.”

-Bill Landis,

With a total value of more than $55 million of projected four-year rookie contracts, the 2017 draft class from Ohio State, which featured three first-round selections, is yet another weapon in Urban Meyer’s recruiting arsenal. While that number is obviously significantly lower than last year’s more than $117 million total, it still puts the Buckeyes at the No. 3 spot behind LSU and Alabama in terms of 2017 draft value (in 2016, Ohio State held the top spot, ahead of Notre Dame, who had just over $51 million in rookie contracts). Last season, with five first-round selections, including two in the top-five and three in the top-10, the Buckeyes garnered a higher payday overall.

Cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the No. 11 overall pick to the New Orleans Saints, commands the highest projected contract among former Buckeyes in this draft at over $15.3 million over four years, including a $9.3 million signing bonus.

Lattimore’s cohort in the secondary, safety Malik Hooker, was taken with the 15th-overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts, despite entering the night as a projected top-10 pick. He comes in just behind Lattimore with a nearly $12.6 million, four-year contract which includes a $7.3 million signing bonus.

Despite legal allegations against him, cornerback Gareon Conley rounded out the Ohio State defensive backs in the first round when he was taken with the No. 24 overall pick by the Oakland Raiders. At that spot, Conley has a projected contract value of just under $10.5 million with a $5.7 million signing bonus.

Ohio State’s two second-round selections have already signed their rookie contracts. Receiver Curtis Samuel, the 40th-overall pick by the Carolina Panthers, signed a deal worth a projected $6.4 million over four years. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan, meanwhile, who was taken by the Miami Dolphins No. 54 overall, has signed a $4.7 million contract.

Center Pat Elflein, a third-round selection by the Minnesota Vikings, and receiver Noah Brown, taken in the seventh round by the Dallas Cowboys, also have projected multi-million dollar deals at hand.

“The four Big Ten teams advancing to the national tournament represent a conference record, and each will host a first-round game.”

-Big Ten Conference

The Ohio State Buckeyes men’s lacrosse team lost in the finals of the Big Ten Tournament Saturday, but the squad still earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, scheduled to begin next week. This season marks the third NCAA Tournament appearance in five years for the team. The Buckeyes will host an opening-round game against Loyola (Md.) next Sunday. Ohio State finished the season with a 13-4 record and as runners up in the Big Ten with a 3-2 record in conference play. They had also boasted a perfect home record until Saturday’s loss to Maryland in the finals. Of the 17 teams in the tournament, Ohio State has wins over six, including No. 1 Maryland, No. 5 Denver, No. 6 Johns Hopkins, and unseeded teams Marquette and Towson.

Loyola, who earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Patriot League Tournament last weekend, has earned a 10-5 record on the season. They were the top seed in their conference tournament, and defeated Army, the two-seed, 13-4 in the finals. This NCAA Tournament appearance marks Loyola’s fifth in six years.

Maryland, who won the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed, also earned the top seed of the national tournament. It is the Terps’ second-straight season as the No. 1-overall seed, and their 15th-straight tournament appearance. Last year, Maryland made it to the NCAA championship game before falling to North Carolina. The Terps are scheduled to face the winner of Bryant/Monmouth in the opening round.

Johns Hopkins and Penn State rounded out the Big Ten’s representation in the tournament. With four teams in, the Big Ten is tied with the ACC for the most teams in the tournament. Hopkins will face Duke in Baltimore in the opening round, while Penn State, the seven-seed, hosts Towson.