- Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer
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Thursday, four-star offensive tackle Jamarco Jones (Chicago/De La Salle) became Ohio State's fifth ESPN 300 pledge for 2014.
Here's how our scouts believe he'll fare in the Big Ten:
What he brings: This is a talented and promising big man. Physically, he carries his weight well, and with some time in the Buckeyes weight program, he could add still more good size and further develop physically.
Jones also shows good flexibility, moves well for his size and can develop into a strong run and pass blocker. He also plays with a bit of a nasty streak and not only can get the job done, but also be a physical presence.
He needs to keep developing technically, but this is a prospect with very good natural tools that can allow him to grow into a well-rounded and very good college lineman with the potential to play multiple positions along the OL.
How he fits: The fact that Jones is big, physical and light on his feet can make him a very good fit for a lot of programs, and that includes Ohio State. He has the ability to line up and drive defenders off the ball to help establish a physical run game, but he also is agile, making him a fairly ideal OL to block for a dual-threat type quarterback. That's what Ohio State has now in Braxton Miller and likely will continue to utilize after Miller is gone.
History at position: Ohio State is one of the more storied programs in college football, so naturally the Buckeyes have produced some outstanding linemen in their time, with players like Jim Lachey and Orlando Pace having come through the program. The more important question is the future of the position for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State is in good shape up front for 2013, with four experienced starters returning, but that means there will be a need for quite a few new faces in the near future. While the 2012 class is more known for the D-line group it signed, the Buckeyes did land a solid group of OLs in that class, as well. They have options on campus when the time comes to rebuild the O-line, and now they are addressing the offensive trenches again with their 2014 class.
Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) is a raw prospect but displays good upside, and the big pick-up of Jones gives them another talented and promising option for the future.
Prediction for performance: It can be tough for a true freshman to play along the offensive line, but it's certainly not impossible or unheard of. As mentioned, Ohio State will have spots to fill in 2014, and while the cupboard is not bare, the Buckeyes might not have a big man in the group as naturally gifted as Jones. He needs to keep developing as a player, and having the opportunity to grow for a season would be ideal, but he is talented enough to get a look for one of those vacated spots when he walks through the door. If he is not immediately needed, time to further develop will only benefit him and ideally allow him to grow into an excellent multi-year starter.
How the class is shaping up: It’s a bit of a down year in the state of Ohio, and after a No. 6 finish in the 2012 class rankings followed by a No. 3 finish the 2013 class rankings, the Buckeyes' 2014 class currently sits outside the top 15. There is still plenty of time until signing day, though, and Urban Meyer is certainly worth watching on the recruiting trail.
Ohio State has made two good out-of-state ESPN 300 pick-ups with tight end / defensive end Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) a week ago and now Jones. The Buckeyes' class is led by top-10 cornerback prospect Damon Webb out of Cass Tech in Detroit, Mich.
1dJosh Moyer and Dan Murphy