Jones Decides He’s NFL-Ready
To the surprise of virtually no one, Dre’Mont Jones announced on Wednesday that he will not return after this season to puruse his dream of playing in the NFL.
When Nick Bosa was injured back in September, leaving a gaping hole along the Ohio State defensive line, Jones knew he had to pick up the slack and keep the Buckeyes’ front among the elite groups in college football.
Sometimes he tried too hard, as evidenced by the occasional offside penalty or by ending up out of position trying to make a play in the backfield. But Jones’ effort never wavered – nor did his effectiveness or desire to show he was a no-doubt NFL prospect.
Jones, in fact, has admitted that he gave serious consideration to bolting school after last season as a redshirt sophomore, leaving two years of eligibility on the table. He came back instead and had the junior season all were expecting.
Listed 6-3 and 286 pounds, Jones logged 40 tackles, 13 TFL, 8.5 sacks, one interception (returned for a TD), one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries (1 for a TD) during the regular season and the Big Ten Championship Game.
He’s got one college game to go – the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 (5 p.m. Eastern, ESPN) – and he confirmed the other day that he will indeed suit up and play for the Scarlet and Gray in Pasadena despite the potential risk of injury.
Jones wants to send off head coach Urban Meyer on a high note and he wants to wrap up his college career with no regrets.
“I think it was a great decision for me to come back,” he said. “I kind of proved myself. Instead of it just being talk or having Nick say or other players say that I’m talented and me not showing it instead of me actually just showing it myself. I feel like I had a successful year.”
Jones is a product of Cleveland St. Ignatius and was a noteworthy signee in the class of 2015 and an Army All-American. A four-star recruit according to just about every service, he was considered the No. 68 overall player, the No. 5 strong-side end and the No. 3 player in Ohio according to 247Sports.
The 247Sports Composite ranked him at No. 133 nationally, the No. 10 strong-side end and No. 6 in Ohio.
Jones redshirted as a true freshman at OSU, in part because he was coming off an injury from his senior year at Ignatius.
As a redshirt freshman in 2016, he earned a starting spot at defensive tackle, totaling 52 tackles and 4 TFL in 12 starts. He was only the third defensive lineman in school history, joining Luke Fickell and Dan Wilkinson, to start at least 10 games of the defensive line as a freshman.
Jones earned Freshman All-American honors in 2016, was third-team All-Big Ten last year and was an easy selection for first-team all-conference this year.
Jones’ departure clearly has the blessing of the OSU coaching staff and he is to be commended for putting equal effort into his academics. A sociology major at Ohio State, Jones has been named an OSU Scholar Athlete the past two years and that honor is sure to follow this academic year.
Bosa is considered a top-three pick if healthy and it’s very likely Jones could join him somewhere in the first round. Scouts like his versatility, size and competitive nature. Most mocks show him being plucked no lower than the middle of the second round.