Jones Acknowledges Mistakes, Seizes Latest Opportunity

By Kyle Rowland on April 8, 2014 at 9:15a

Cardale Jones has never been higher than third string on the depth chart. Yet, it hasn’t kept him from being well known. Of course, his notoriety is more infamous than celebrated. But his status could soon be changing.

Not only does Jones occupy the inside track to be Braxton Miller’s backup, he’s exhibited a measure of humility after a dubious tweet that garnered national attention.  

When Jones questioned why he had to attend class, it earned him a one-game suspension. The course for getting out of Urban Meyer and Tom Herman’s doghouse lasted much longer than one week, though. Jones was an immature freshman who was ill prepared and carried a bad attitude.

And that was after a year at Fork Union Military Academy. It got so bad in Columbus that Jones’s parents made the trek down I-71 to meet with Meyer about transfer options.

“I was almost out of here,” Jones said. “The growing up process was helpful and it came from the coaches believing in me and keep pushing me. We had a sit down with my family to talk about what they expected of me and what I wasn’t doing. For me to become the quarterback they felt like I should be, I wasn’t meeting those standards at that point in time.”

Said Meyer: “He was a guy who had a one-way bus ticket back to Cleveland about a year ago, with just his whole seriousness approach to academics, approach to lifestyle and approach to Ohio State football.”

It was one of many reality checks for Jones, who said he feels like he owes his coaches a debt of gratitude for allowing him to rebuild trust. Instead of criticism and punishment from coaches, Jones is now the recipient of confidence. Both Meyer and Herman have lauded him for his methodology during the spring.

“He was a guy that couldn’t get out of his own way,” Meyer said. “You’re starting to see the progress in the classroom. You remember the famous tweet? It’s a different guy.”

The Jones-J.T. Barrett duel has been mostly one-sided. That development isn’t surprising, but the player many expected to assume control of the position isn’t out in front. Barrett, the first handpicked quarterback of the Meyer-Herman up-tempo offense era, has been overshadowed by Jones’s efficiency.

“[Jones] has done nothing to deserve less reps with the ones right now,” Herman said. “He’s playing like a quarterback at Ohio State should.”

Jones’s predecessor, Kenny Guiton, played a significant role in salvaging his career. Images of Guiton’s Purdue heroics and record-setting days against Cal and Florida A&M are indelible. But he also was in possession of a one-way bus ticket that went unused.

The turnaround took place because of hard work, not talent. The on-field success was a byproduct of a noteworthy work ethic. Jones was a spectator to that reclamation and rededicated himself in a similar manner.

“That's where I learned everything from – Kenny Guiton,” Jones said. “Kenny Guiton actually put me in that hard position because he was the model backup, and I was nowhere near Kenny Guiton. He put me in awkward conversations with our coaches trying to live up to him and fill his shoes.”

Clearing his mind has served Jones well. When he steps on the practice field, he’s freethinking and loose. Given a significant opportunity with Braxton Miller out for spring drills, Jones is the most attentive quarterback in the room. Consider it an injection of Guiton into Jones and listening to the words of Herman.

For more than two years, Herman has resided squarely in Jones’s corner. The offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach’s unwavering support remains central to Jones’s progression.

“The biggest impact on me next to my mom and Coach [Ted] Ginn [Sr.] is probably Coach Herman,” Jones said. “He stood on the table for me, he put his neck out for me. I’m pretty sure I could never repay him for that. He’s had a huge impact on my life.”

Letting his coaches down is letting Buckeye Nation down, according to Jones. It’s all connected – coaches to team to fan base. It’s all smiles at the moment. In the fall, Jones could give fans another reason to cheer. Miller’s checkered past with injuries may result in playing time.

Just who will they see on the field? Someone remarkably different than the handoff machine they spotted last season. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Jones owns long strides and a rocket arm. His size and speed lend him the ability to create a positive result on a broken play.

“I’ve come a long way,” Jones said, “but I’ve still got a long way to go.”


Comments Show All Comments

osu07asu10's picture

Love it. I love hearing how dedicated he is to the program and how grateful he is for the coaches. I feel comfortable now we just need a great GIF of Cardale...


CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

+8 HS
Hovenaut's picture

This is a great story - it's a positive testament to both Cardale and the program. Good timing as well - as I hope these young men stay focused heading into summer.

+4 HS
Mortc15's picture

Hopefully by the time fall comes around, he's a backup that's just as trusted as KG to keep the offense rolling.


+2 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Hard work has it's rewards.  Good job Cardale and remember what the coaches say, "next man up."

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

+1 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

Dude is a beast, I hope he focuses on the task at hand and really develops as a QB. With talent mixed with his size, he'd be a hell of a player for us if things work out. 

+2 HS
MAVBuck's picture

Greay story and someone who I think will leave an impression when he's all said and done at OSU.

TUNBUCK89's picture

If i were him, i will bust my ass to make up for that tweet by being an academic ALL -something (anything).

+4 HS
andretolstoy's picture

This kid has some serious potential to surpass even T. Smith if keeps on this train. God bless him. Wish him well.

+2 HS
TossTrap's picture

Where do I donate to send Cardale out to see George Whitfield Jr.?

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

that's a great idea, but his parents have to have the money for that.



BuckWylde's picture

Well, Toss Trap, there's your donation targets mom & pops!                                                                                                               Let's get CJ to the QB Whisperer!  

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. -Adlai Stevenson, governor, US ambassador

buckskin's picture

Great to hear he has learned from the lapse of judgment.  He'll go from being a poster boy for what not to say in other programs manuals to beating those same programs on the field.  Love it.

Oh, by the way; how long will the gift of Kenny keep on giving?  Do I hear GA?

+2 HS
nikolajz1's picture

I like Cardale but I dont think he's the guy we'd want QBing the team once Braxton leaves. Seeing him in practice, he looked pretty mediocre. I think if we get Wimbush or Gibson they have a great chance to start day 1. 

hit_the_couch's picture

Practice is different too. I'm not saying the kid is a stud, but there's a lot to factor in for practice; plus they aren't going full combat speed either.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

osu07asu10's picture

Seeing him in practice, he looked pretty mediocre. I think if we get Wimbush or Gibson they have a great chance to start day 1.

Just curious what you've seen in Wimbush or Gibson's film that makes you believe they have a great chance to start day 1? I guess they could contribute on special teams.

This comment is laughable and it spits in the face of the QBs on the team. We have 3 scholarship QBs here putting in the time, grinding to get better. Specifically the "mediocre" (or was he "pretty good" at practice?)Jones that you speak of has received nothing but praise from Herman and by Meyer's count has only had 1 bad practice. 

I'll bet my whole stash of helmet stickers that Gibson, Wimbush, or any other QB recruit for the 2015 season doesn't start day 1 over Jones, Barrett, or Collier.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

+6 HS
DoubleB's picture

What a great story. From a football standpoint its all well and good. Nice to have some competition and a solid backup. From a life standpoint this is brilliant. Hope he keeps up his new found work ethic, it will serve him well.


+1 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

As much as I love that GIF, it always reminds me that we gave up 35 to Illinois. 

I think Cardale is actually more suited to this set of skill players. Braxton and Carlos were formidable because of the elusive-power combo. The same combo is maintained with Cardale taking IZR and Dontre taking the jet sweep.

I got a gray kitty, white kitty, tabby too, and a little orange guy who puts snakes in my shoes. Got mad MC skills, that leave ya struck, and I roll with my kitties and I'm hard as f*ck.

+2 HS
daveyt11's picture

After reading about Ray Small falling from grace, this is very inspiring.

+2 HS
sox33osu's picture

If Cardale was this adorable, we'd of never been upset with him in the first place -



Kingbuck12's picture

I hope we are up so much in games this year, that we get to see a lot of this kid play. I dont think people can tackle this beast. Want to see his arm in a game situation. I hear he can really spin it, but i have never seen him throw. 


WezBuck28's picture

I can't wait to see him throw the ball...I want to see him show us something we havnt really gotten to see lately..deep bombs hitting the runner on stride.. nothing against brax, but I'm ready to see some air under that ball, and see why all these skill players are getting so much hype..

+1 HS
Statutoryglory's picture

I've been pounding the table on this.  Don't sleep on Cardale Jones.  Watch Mike Thomas's highlight video from Fork Union and realize that Cardale was throwing those passes.

+1 HS
Shangheyed's picture

He would be a punishing runner too... at 250 lbs... El Cardale!

buckeyedude's picture

Maybe we could start calling him Das Autos, just to differentiate him from El Guapo?



rkylet83's picture

He has all the tools to be a great QB.  His size is frightening; it's like having another offensive lineman back there to tackle.

+1 HS
IH8UOFM's picture

As much positivity as we are hearing coming from Cardale's way, I expect him to have a great year in whatever role he plays.

BuckeyeJAK's picture

 I have no problem with Cardale earning his way on the field. He has a very strong arm and can be accurate I wish him the best and hope he puts his talent to use

Mark May is a mental midget