- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Ohio State could take as many as six offensive linemen in the 2014 class, and Jamarco Jones has been a top priority for the Buckeyes since they offered more than a year ago.
A year of hard work by the staff recruiting Jones paid off Thursday when Jones, No. 66 in the ESPN 300, committed to Ohio State.
Aside from getting a top-10 offensive tackle nationally, the Jones addition is a big one because the Buckeyes have been courting him for so long. To miss out on Jones, who some believed could end up at Michigan State, would have been a devastating blow for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is in a good position for other elite linemen like Alex Bookser, Demetrius Knox and Damian Prince, but there is still some work to be done on all of them.
While the Buckeyes locked up early commitments from Marcelys Jones and Kyle Trout, Ohio State has missed out on some other top offensive line targets. Jimmy Byrne, Sam Mustipher and Quenton Nelson all committed to Notre Dame, and other targets such as Andy Bauer (Ole Miss), KC McDermott (Miami) and Braden Smith (undeclared) all have Ohio State offers and visited but none will land in Columbus.
It is also another big step for the Buckeyes and assistant Mike Vrabel in Chicago. The Buckeyes are building a pipeline to Chicagoland and Core 6, a group that trains a significant amount of the area’s top talent. Four-star defensive line commitment Dylan Thompson also is a Core 6 member.
And of course Urban Meyer will wear a smile on his face Thursday considering the Buckeyes beat out Michigan and fellow Big Ten rival Michigan State for Jones.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Jones is coming off shoulder surgery but should be recovered in time for his senior season. While it is tough for a freshman to make an impact at the college level, Jones could be a two- or even three-year starter for Ohio State down the road.
The scouting report on Jones calls him a “promising prospect.”
“[He] shows nice flashes in all areas and with some time in a college weight program and further development of technique he has the tools to develop into a quality starter at the BCS level,” his report states.
512dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert