fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Buckeye quarterback changes image

At Ohio State, they rave about Cardale Jones’ size, running ability and arm strength.

“He has a cannon,” coach Urban Meyer said.

That makes Jones a loose cannon with a cannon. Until this week the redshirt sophomore was mainly known for a tweet that painted him as, well, a knucklehead.

“Why should we have to go class if we come here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL, Classes are POINTLESS,” Jones opined.

That was October 2012, and Jones batted out more gems that fall. Among the non-profane was this: “SAY WHAT? The McRib is back?? WHERE????”

McDonald’s, perhaps?

Jones has toned it down, offering some clever tweets such as this one: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

With Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett out with injuries, Jones heads into Saturday’s Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin with a mission to replace two of the best quarterbacks in school history.

No pressure.

Not even Barrett, who established himself as the conference’s best passer with a sterling performance at Michigan State, was sharp after taking over the job. He threw three interceptions in a Week 2 loss to Virginia Tech.

“The difference,” Meyer said, “is that Cardale will walk into an experienced huddle. He has five linemen who have played together all year and done pretty well. He has a 1,000-yard rusher at tailback (Ezekiel Elliott). There was no one around J.T. with experience.”

Jones’ only meaningful experience came Saturday against Michigan after Barrett broke his right ankle.

Jones got bottled up on a third-and-2 run, missing a hole to his left. He did look impressive on an 18-yard run and wisely handed off to Elliott on a fourth-and-1 option. Elliott took it the distance.

“Mentally he was very tuned in,” offensive coordinator Tom Herman said after the game.

Jones is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, drawing comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger as a huge body who’s tough to bring down.

“He is your prototypical quarterback,” Buckeyes defensive tackle Michael Bennett said. “He handles pressure in the pocket well. He can run over people. He has a rocket for an arm. He’s a good decision-maker. I have a lot of confidence in Cardale. He gave J.T. a run for his money this spring.”

Receiver Evan Spencer said Jones “makes throws that are absolutely ridiculous” in practice.

“It will be a slight change (without Barrett), but I don’t see that being a problem,” Spencer said.

The Jones they see isn’t the one who became a symbol for those who mock the term “student-athlete.”

Meyer, never one to mince words, pointed out Sunday that he didn’t recruit Jones. The Cleveland native was a holdover from the previous staff.

“He’s a very talented guy,” Meyer said, “but (he was) just a mess. He did not take care of his business academically. He has pretty good support from some people back home, and we had them down a couple of times for meetings and (the meetings) weren’t pleasant.

“I noticed last year a complete transformation from this very immature person. And now in the classroom he is doing very good.”

As for whether Jones can handle the biggest stage and thrive against the Big Ten’s best defense, that’s another question. He went to Ohio State to play FOOTBALL, and he’ll get his chance.

Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones (12) takes over as the starter this week. Here, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound sophomore leaps over Maryland's safety Anthony Nixon. AP PHOTO