The Battle for the Nation's Elite Quarterbacks Still Going Strong for Several Top Programs

By Andrew Ellis on October 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm
The Buckeyes have their guy in Emory Jones, but now they have to fend off Alabama to keep him in the fold for 2018.

Emory Jones via USA TODAY High School Sports


Not quite out of the woods just yet.

Back in June, we talked about the national recruiting picture and specifically how the quarterback scenario was heating up. Several of the country's top programs were chasing five-star Justin Fields – the No. 1 player in America – who has since announced his commitment to the University of Georgia. 

The Buckeyes never got involved for Fields or any of the other top players at the position. They simply didn't need to as Franklin, Georgia's Emory Jones (Heard County) has been committed to Ohio State since July of 2016. Back when we first addressed this topic, we pointed out that the Buckeyes were in an envious position having a 2018 quarterback already firmly committed. 

Ohio State still has its 2018 quarterback pledge and the future continues to look very bright at the position. However, a lot has changed since June. 

What We Know

By now we are all probably aware of Jones' trips to Tuscaloosa and the Crimson Tide's pursuit of the country's No. 36 overall prospect. There have been multiple trips to Alabama dating back to the summer, and Nick Saban is still on the lookout for his 2018 quarterback. 

The Buckeyes got a bit of good news last weekend when Jones elected not to return to Bama for yet another visit. Our very own Kevin Harrish was back in his old stomping grounds and had the chance to speak with the Georgia native.

A return trip to Bama – along with fellow Georgian Brenton Cox – certainly wouldn't have been the best news in the world. Cox did make the trip (and things seem to be fine on that front), but Jones staying home was a positive sign in this battle between the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide. 

We also know that Jones is planning on being in Columbus the weekend of Oct. 28. Perhaps you've heard about it, but Ohio State will be hosting the Nittany Lions in what will be one of the biggest games and recruiting weekends of the entire year. A number of commitments and targets will be in town, and it never hurts for one of the team's prized pledges to be surrounded by the others. 

What about a return trip to Tuscaloosa? It's certainly possible, but nothing appears imminent at this point. A lot of this will depend on Jones' timeline and whether or not he enrolls early, but an official visit to Alabama after the Penn State game could be a tad bit ominous. 

Jones continues to say all of the right things regarding his pledge, but I always refer back to the "watch what they do, not what they say" mantra in these cases. Visiting Alabama twice in a matter of months wasn't good. Canceling this past weekend's planned visit obviously was more of a positive.

What We Think

Right now there are basically three teams fighting it out for two quarterbacks. Emory Jones is clearly one of them with the other being Kentucky commitment Jarren Williams. The fellow four-star Georgia native has offers from all over the country, but Ohio State has yet to enter the fray. 

Reports have started to surface regarding Ohio State's contact with the Lawrenceville product, and this continues to be one to watch closely. An offer from the Buckeyes could be fairly telling in regards to their thoughts on Jones. If Williams were to make a trip to Columbus, then the writing may very well be on the wall. 

It's probably not the best feeling for Kentucky fans. They have a very talented four-star quarterback commitment who is already being chased by the No. 1 team in America with the Buckeyes showing some interest as well. To make matters even worse for the folks in Lexington, Jarren Williams has already decommitted once. 

If Alabama or Ohio State hones in on Williams, one would have to like their chances.

The Unsubstantiated Rumor Mill

A supposed Georgia high school coach has been frequenting Alabama sites claiming to have first-hand knowledge of the situation. This individual's #take on everything is that Emory Jones is a done deal to the Tide; even citing visual evidence of discussions that have taken place between said quarterback and his cronies. 

If this were to be the case, then it really doesn't make a lot of sense for the Crimson Tide to be putting so much effort into other quarterbacks. Just a few weeks back they were gushing over Fields and Williams all the while Jones was in town himself. 

We will go ahead and file that one under the gossip category for the time being.

Either way, quarterback recruiting for Ohio State – and other top programs – isn't even close to being finished as the Buckeyes look to hang on to their long-standing commit.

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