Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
This week’s topic: Which Ohio State football player would you love to see in the Olympics?
Josh’s Take: Cardale Jones — Javelin
Gene, I need to be honest here: the winter Olympics are not “my jam”. Sure, I will watch many of the events and cheer for Team USA, but I’m more of a summer games kind of guy. Nonetheless, I was trying to think of which Ohio State football players – past or present – would make a good winter games Olympian.
A linebacker as a hockey player? A skill position player as a gymnast or figure skater? I just wasn’t coming up with much. As much as a tried, I could not come up with a comp for these Beijing games we’re currently watching. I wanted to stay topical, but I shifted gears to summer events.
The events that take place during the summer games are just more conventional. Lots of guys ran track as younger athletes, or played basketball at a high level. It was easy to imagine Michael Thomas as a basketball player, or Justin Fields as... an archer, maybe? A little bullseye/accuracy humor for you there. But for my final choice, I wanted to think completely outside the box.
More popular events were off the table. No basketball, sprinting, swimming, volleyball, etc. From there, I broke the players and events down, into natural participants. Linemen as weightlifters, skills players and defensive backs as track and field athletes, quarterbacks in anything involving targets or accuracy... You get where I’m going here. Quarterbacks were calling to me, and I started to come up with a solid list of ideas.
How about J.T. Barrett in a shooting event? He was accurate and cool under pressure. He is from the state of Texas. I mean, the recipe for success is there. But Barrett wasn’t the best choice. I mentioned Fields earlier, and I almost went with him in an archery event. Another accurate guy, the current Chicago Bears quarterback is just too recent. I told you, I wanted to go completely outside the box. After dismissing Braxton Miller as a decathlete because it was just too obvious, I finally figured it out.
Cardale Jones AKA 12 Gauge AKA Mr. Not Here to Play School, would have been a legendary Olympian had he participated in one particular event. I’ll get to that. But first, I wanted to drop a few hints and see if you (Gene) or any readers can figure out where I’m going with this.
What was Cardale’s best physical attribute? Obviously, it was his arm strength. You don’t earn a nickname like 12 Gauge by throwing the ball underneath. He had a cannon.
Which Olympic sports involve some sort of throwing action? Softball and baseball (if it ever comes back) are the obvious ones, but remember: I’m not going for obvious here. Shot put, discuss, and hammer throw are all on the board, but none of them involve a natural throwing action. Jones had the size to potentially compete with those “heavy” throwers, but those events were not conducive to his more traditional throwing motion.
Time to deliver on the tease: Cardale Jones would have been a phenomenal javelin thrower! I know it’s not comparing apples to apples, but envision a javelin throw in your mind. Athletes get a running start, the object is thrown with a similar trajectory to that of a football, and a clean rotation (or spiral!) leads to increased distance and/or a higher likelihood of success. Have you ever seen a wobbly javelin go far? Same goes for a lame-duck pass in football. This might be a fever dream, but I think Jones should actually pursue this in his post-football career.
The defending Olympic champion, Neeraj Chopra of India, measures in at 5-foot-11 (or 6-foot, depending on source — I say the same thing), 190 pounds. Jones is listed at 6-foot-5, 250ish pounds. Chopra, as far as I can tell, never played quarterback. Jones not only played quarterback, but did so at a high level — See: Ohio State, 2014,CFB National Championship, cup of coffee in the NFL. Am I crazy here,thinking Jones holds all the advantages? It’s not too late, Cardale!
Obviously, this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I think I’m onto something here. Quarterback and javelin thrower are at least somewhat similar in how they perform. More so than a linebacker skating to check an opponent, or an athletic wide receiver dismounting from a balance beam. Good luck topping this one, Gene. I think it is the most insane argument I have ever made, and that’s saying something.
Gene’s Take: Dawand Jones — Shotput
Like Josh, upon landing on this topic my mind immediately began racing with all of the possibilities. Obviously many of Ohio State’s football players, especially at the skill positions, were former track athletes, so any running events seem like too big a cop-out. There are also a ton of guys who played basketball in high school as well, but choosing hoops as an event seemed too easy as well. As much as I would like to see one of the tougher guys on the roster try their hand at karate, taekwondo or wrestling, I think the technical aspects of those events would prove difficult to master.
Josh landed on a quarterback for his choice, and I love his pick of Jones in the javelin. I think guys like Jones, Fields, Dwayne Haskins and C.J. Stroud would all do quite well in any of the throwing-based events, but I don’t want to double up on QBs here. For whatever reason, offensive linemen are the group of guys who came to mind for me as dudes who could excel in some of the strength-based events. I don’t know if they could quite hold their own with some of the Olympic weightlifters, but I think something like the shotput could certainly go their way, and for that I went with a bit of an obvious choice in my opinion: Dawand Jones.
Partially because I just want to see Dawand Jones as much as possible, I think the massive offensive tackle could hold his own in the shotput. Officially listed at 6-foot-8, 360 pounds, Jones has more than enough size to get some big power behind his throws. For comparison’s sake, American shot-putter Ryan Crouser — the Olympic world record holder and a two-time gold medalist — is listed at 6-foot-7, 320 pounds. While Crouser is likely a bit more nimble than Jones, in my mind I’m (probably incorrectly) thinking that a bit more added size could potentially lead to stronger throws. I’m not saying he could compete with the Crouser’s of the world, but I could see him being competitive.
Another benefit Jones has going his way is that he could find himself a really good trainer not too far away. Adelaide Aquilla, a member of the Ohio State women’s track and field team, is one of — if not the — best collegiate shot-putters in the country. A two-time national champion and three-time First Team All-American, Aquilla holds the Big Ten Championship outdoor record and both the Buckeye program indoor and outdoor records in the shot put, as well as qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Surely she could give Jones a few pointers in his quest to make Team USA proud.
Obviously there is more to shot put than just being a large individual, but Jones has more than a punchers chance at making it work. While he is a very big man, he is a great athlete for his size as well, also playing basketball in high school and being pretty good at it, averaging 17 points per game and earning several D1 offers for hoops. He also seems to have a really great attitude and is a motivated guy, earning a starting spot on Ohio State’s offensive line after being a sub-1000-ranked recruit. All of these factors put together, along with some tutelage from Aquilla, and I’m about ready to sign up Dawand Jones to compete in the shot put for Team USA.