The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
In nearly every recruiting cycle, there's a player or two that you just know you want in your class but it never seems to be a real option. For whatever reason–whether it be grades, distance from home or anything else–the mutual affection between both sides doesn't lend to a commitment.
The Jones File
- Class: 2016
- Size: 6-3/210
- Pos: LB
- School: Good Counsel (Olney, MD)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 8 (OLB)
That was almost the story of Keandre Jones and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The four-star linebacker from Maryland was always high on the Buckeyes' list, though he'd been committed to the Terrapins since December of 2014. Still, no visits to Ohio State were made and it seemed, for most of the spring and summer, that the Buckeyes would be content with only one linebacker in their 2016 class.
Jones starred at Nike's The Opening over the summer, impressing observers with impressive agility and sideline-to-sideline speed
Performing at The Opening, Jones' length and his ability to close on a receiver in front of him stood out. The No. 1 outside linebacker prospect in the East showed an ability to change direction well, and his athleticism stood out.
He weighed in at 202 pounds and ran 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He was comfortable covering in the flat, but he needs to work on getting the correct depth on his drop backs in the middle of the field.
Midway through his senior season, as Randy Edsall's coaching staff was ushered out of College Park, there appeared to be a small opening for schools to make an impression on Jones, but still no visits were made anywher else. It seemed as though Jones was even more of a longshot as the Buckeyes chased linebackers like Notre Dame signee Daelin Hayes and offered Walnut Ridge's Malik Harrison.
Jones' name was mentioned in passing from time-to-time publicly but Luke Fickell and the Buckeyes' staff continued their pursuit, quietly, of the Maryland star. When Dwayne Haskins, Jr. made his official visit to Columbus in December, the smoke around Jones, a close friend of the Potomac quarterback, became more and more prevalent.
After a December recruiting dead period came to an end, Fickell made going to Olney one of his first stops. On Thursday, January 14th, the Buckeyes and Jones agreed he'd take an official visit the next day and from there things accelerated rapidly. Although he'd planned to make a trip to Gainesville, Florida the next weekend, it never happened. Jones committed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Haskins.
A Rivals.com five-star, Jones' talent made him too good for the Buckeyes to pass up when the chance to make a move on him arose.
"Have you seen that film," a source asked 11W. "He's an absolute physical monster. Great size, long, fast, and physical, he has Ryan Shazier qualities."
Maryland's new coaching staff made one final push for Jones, spending as much time as they could with their former commitment to try and get him to reconsider. The efforts didn't work and today, Jones, the country's eighth-ranked linebacker, is officially a Buckeye.