2018 Quarterback Recruiting Still Up in the Air As the Emory Jones Saga Appears Far From Over

By Andrew Ellis on November 14, 2017 at 1:15 pm
Ryan Day and Urban Meyer are working to keep Emory Jones in the fold.
Emory Jones, Ryan Day

The saga continues.

A year ago, it appeared that Ohio State's 2018 quarterback recruiting was in the bag. One of the country's top signal-callers had announced his intentions to play for the Buckeyes and the future was looking brighter than ever at the position. 

Fast forward one year and here we are three months from national signing day and there seem to be more questions than there are answers. 

It's no secret that Urban Meyer expects a lot out of the position, and even with a talented group of youngsters already in Columbus, it's practically imperative that Ryan Day and the Buckeyes add more to the arsenal with the Class of 2018. 

We took a detailed look at the position last month, but a lot has unfolded since that time. Considering all the recent movement, we take an updated look at the ever-evolving world of quarterback recruiting.

The Pledge

The country's No. 3 dual-threat quarterback is still an Ohio State commit, but Emory Jones certainly isn't making this easy on the Buckeyes' coaching staff. The four-star took an official visit to Tuscaloosa in October and then was in Columbus for the Penn State game. He was tentatively scheduled to visit Alabama once again on Nov. 4, but the Buckeyes got a bit of good news when that trip never took place. 

Still, Jones and his family have made it clear that there are some decisions to be made, and it sure doesn't seem like he's 100 percent sold on Ohio State just yet. Last weekend he was in Auburn watching the Tigers hand Georgia its first loss of the season. While Auburn was never considered a serious threat, the fact that he made the trip is at least worth paying attention to. Then again there's always the possibility of a kid simply wanting to get an up-close-and-personal view of one of the biggest games of the season.

"Watch what they do, not what they say" is still one of the golden rules when following recruiting, and in this case Jones continues to check out other schools amid rumors of the family potentially wanting him to stay closer to home. Alabama is in need of a 2018 quarterback, and the Tide is still the team to watch most closely. The Bama crystal ball picks have been flowing of late with 10 submissions in the last few weeks. 

Other, more positive recent events include wearing an Ohio State bandana in his team's first playoff game. If you're one of those people who finds solace in a recruit's apparel, then I suppose that could be a bit of good news. There's also the pro-Buckeye chatter on social media; including his efforts to recruit Ohio State's top wide receiver target – Kamryn Babb – to Columbus.

A bit perplexed by this whole situation? Trust me, you're not alone.

The Candidates

Because Jones hasn't solidified his commitment, the Buckeyes have made some moves on other 2018 quarterbacks. There is a trio of others to watch right now, and the heat is being turned up in a big way. Ohio State is absolutely going to take someone at the position, and with signing day fast approaching and Jones still exploring his options, the Buckeyes are handling things just as any powerhouse program should. 

Prospect Hometown Measurables Rating Pos. Rank Nat. Rank
ADRIAN MARTINEZ Fresno, CA 6-foot-2, 198 pounds ★★★★ No. 7 DUAL No. 155
JARREN WILLIAMS Lawrenceville, GA 6-foot-2, 206 pounds ★★★★ No. 8 DUAL No. 205
MATTHEW BALDWIN Austin, Texas 6-foot-2.5, 195 pounds ★★★ No. 41 PRO No. 1460

Tennessee commit Adrian Martinez was in town last weekend for the Michigan State game, and while the four-star is still a Volunteer commit, the Butch Jones' firing certainly adds another layer of intrigue. Ohio State hasn't offered yet, but don't be surprised if that happens in the near future.

Martinez missed his entire senior season with a torn labrum, but he had garnered plenty of interest prior to the injury. Schools like Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Oregon have all offered the nation's No. 8 dual-threat passer. 

Lawrenceville, Georgia's Jarren Williams officially decommitted from Kentucky (for the second time) on Sunday. Williams was in Miami for the Hurricanes' beat down of Notre Dame, and Mark Richt likely has the Canes out in front right now. Williams is schedule to be in Columbus this weekend for an official visit, so perhaps the Buckeyes will look to make a movie for the future early enrollee? 

Matthew Baldwin is the newest name on the radar for the Buckeyes. It's not often you see Ohio State go after a Colorado State pledge, but Ryan Day clearly sees something in the 6-foot-2.5, 195-pounder who earned an offer on Sunday. The offer sheet isn't something you typically see – a number of Ivy League programs and a lone powerhouse – but Baldwin has put up big numbers against elite competition in the Lone Star State. He's compiled 32 touchdowns in eight games.

The three-star was in Columbus last weekend for an unofficial and plans on returning for an official visit. It's interesting that he received an offer before Martinez, but that may be partially attributed to the California native's recovery from the aforementioned shoulder injury. 

Either way, Baldwin — who plays in the top division in Texas — has officially entered the picture at quarterback. 

The Wild Card

The potential X-factor in this whole ordeal isn't necessarily a particular player, but rather the premise that Ohio State could elect to take two quarterbacks in the class. J.T. Barrett is getting ready to play his final home game, Joe Burrow will be a redshirt junior in 2018, Dwayne Haskins a redshirt sophomore, and Tate Martell will be in his second season.

Any time two (or more) highly talented players engage in a head-to-head battle for the starting spot, it's worth watching for a potential transfer. Obviously we are a ways away from the 2018 quarterback derby, but if either Haskins or Burrow appears on track for the starting gig, then the other will have some decisions to make. 

The 2019 quarterback class isn't looking particularly strong and the Buckeyes' top target is an Auburn legacy, so there's always a chance that Meyer and Day decide to take two this go around and then look ahead to 2020. 

An Emory Jones plus Jarren Williams haul? That certainly seems unlikely. But what about one of Jones, Williams, Martinez plus Matthew Baldwin? I don't think that's out of the realm of possibility at this point. 

The 2018 quarterback landscape is the biggest storyline heading into the early signing period and February's traditional signing day. With all of the coaching changes, decommitments, and new offers, there's no sign of that slowing anytime soon. 

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