What’s next for Ohio State’s Star QB Cardale Jones?
AFRO Sports Faceoff By Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley, Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper | 9/28/2015, 4:54 p.m.
Just a few short months ago, Cardale Jones was on the top of the college football world. The Ohio State junior quarterback had a college championship in his back pocket and a three-game run that solidified his status as a top collegiate signal caller.
Jones was, and might still be, one of the surging players in the game. But a home game Sept. 19 against underrated Northern Illinois saw Jones get off to a slow start. Jones tossed two interceptions and 36 yards on four-of-nine passing before he was pulled for backup quarterback J.T. Barrett, who finished the 20-13 win. Ohio State already moved former top quarterback Braxton Miller to wide receiver, and now the question is whether it will be Jones or Barrett who’ll finish the year as the starter. What’s next for Cardale Jones? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports desk debate this question.
Green: Jones is the best passer on the team. His benching against Northern Illinois on Saturday was just a hiccup, and perhaps Jones himself went into the game overlooking the opponent. Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer may have just saved Ohio State’s season by benching Jones, who should bounce back after the subpar outing. I’d be surprised if Jones doesn’t start in Ohio State’s next game against Western Michigan on Sept. 26, and it would come as a double shocker if Jones isn’t still the trigger man once the college postseason rolls around.
Riley: Jones is obviously the top talent at the quarterback position for the Buckeyes—but can his ego handle that label? After the game, Jones took to Twitter, calling himself “second string” and obviously not presenting himself as the leader of the Buckeyes. Jones earned some speculation about a future in the NFL after he put together three games of championship play, and perhaps the allure of the big leagues entered Jones’ psyche going into this year. Typically, starting quarterbacks don’t bounce back from being benched, so it’ll be interesting to see how Jones reacts. He has the talent to do it, but does he have the ego?
Green: Jones reacted as any college-age player would, citing his displeasure with the benching on social media. Maybe he was wrong for publicizing his thoughts, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in the mix again as the starter. Remember, he started last season as the third-string signal caller before he emerged as the starter late in the 2014 campaign. Despite Miller’s and Barrett’s presence on the team, they’re both still recovering from season-ending injuries last year. Jones will definitely regain his starting position at some point—it’s really not a question of if, but when. His NFL hopes are still intact but he will have to regain his poise and his position to achieve his lofty goals.
Riley: Jones was labeled with a checkered history when he entered the Ohio State program, and his attitude towards those around him was a definite eyebrow-raiser. Since his enrollment and emergence into the public eye, Jones has penned a number of interesting tweets that put his leadership capabilities into question. Every player is entitled to a bad game, so I doubt his performance against Northern Illinois will be the deciding factor on whether or not he returns to his position. But his attitude will definitely be the tipping point. He’s been exciting, he’s been controversial, and he’s always been in a fight for the starting quarterback gig at Ohio State. This current battle is nothing new for Jones—but his talent might not be enough for Meyer and the Buckeyes to overlook his attitude.