In every recruiting class, there are a number of players that seem like locks to end up at a specific school. We’ve seen it in Ohio State’s 2018 class already, with Jaelen Gill, Taron Vincent, and Dallas Gant all committing to Ohio State after months of speculation. Matthew Jones had been in the same situation for the better part of his recruitment, and at Ohio State’s star studded camp today, he finally pulled the trigger.
Jones has been on commitment watch for months, and the prevailing thought was that if he didn’t commit at today’s camp, he would at the annual Friday Night Lights camp next month. Jones had no reason to wait past today, and just minutes ago, he made his commitment to the Buckeyes official.
Jones has been one of the top targets for Ohio State ever since they offered back in May of 2016. With Greg Studrawa and Greg Schiano both recruiting him very heavily, Ohio State had been in the driver’s seat for months. Let’s take a look at what Jones brings to the table, and why he’s been such a hot commodity in this recruiting cycle.
ON THE FIELD
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.
IN THE CLASS
Jones is the 14th recruit to join Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class, and the second offensive lineman, along with Max Wray. Ohio State brought in three offensive lineman in the 2017 class, in Wyatt Davis, Josh Myers, and Thayer Munford, and wants to bring in two more in this class.
With Jones making his pledge official, Ohio State now holds the number one class in America. The second best class, Miami, holds commitments from three more players than Ohio State, and trails the Buckeyes average recruit rating by nearly four points on 247sports.
Jones is the seventh highest ranked player in Ohio State’s class now, according to the 247sports composite rankings, behind Teredja Mitchell, but ahead of the aforementioned Wray. Ohio State holds commitments from 13 top-300 players, and that number should jump to fourteen once Master Teague gets his well deserved rankings bump. Miami is the only school anywhere close to that number, with 12. No other school in the top ten has more than 8.