If four-star quarterback commit Emory Jones decommitted from Ohio State, all signs pointed toward Alabama being his eventual destination. But following an official visit to Florida this weekend, he instead flipped his pledge to the Gators on Wednesday, the first day of the Early Signing Period.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Jones had been committed to the Buckeyes since July 2016, but began taking visits to other schools when the Crimson Tide offered him a scholarship in March.
“[I'm] just making sure [Ohio State] is the right place for me," Jones said this summer. “I never really had the chance to go on visits before I committed, so I feel like I need the chance to do that.”
Florida was one of the schools Jones hoped to visit this fall, but the Gators and then-head coach Jim McElwain had already singled out California four-star Matt Corral as their top target and landed his commitment in July. So Jones instead focused on the Crimson Tide, and took an unofficial visit in late September and then returned for an official visit in October.
It appeared Jones would either make the decision to decommit or shut down his recruitment during his official visit to Ohio State for the highly anticipated game against Penn State in late October. But the saga dragged on well beyond that.
Auburn entered the picture late, as Jones visited twice in November. The Tigers were never seriously viewed as a threat, but it was about that time the Buckeyes decided they weren’t going to just sit by idly.
The staff sent out an offer to then-Kentucky four-star quarterback commit Jarren Williams, and invited him and then-Colorado State three-star pledge Matthew Baldwin to campus for official visits. Williams had already silently flipped to Miami by that point, but Baldwin was blown away by the visit.
Ohio State extended an offer that weekend, and Baldwin committed just under one month later, which ensured the Buckeyes would have at least one quarterback this cycle.
Then late Thursday night, the aforementioned Corral suddenly flipped his pledge to Ole Miss, leaving Florida without a signal caller in its 2018 recruiting class. The news wasn't all that surprising, seeing as new head coach Dan Mullen would rather have a dual-threat than pro-style quarterback run his offense.
With the Gators unlikely to flip Georgia five-star commit Justin Fields or Auburn four-star pledge Joey Gatewood in this late, they zeroed in on Jones and invited him to campus for the official visit.