Ohio State defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones, the Buckeyes' top draft-eligible NFL prospect who had not yet announced whether he would declare for the 2018 NFL draft, announced Thursday that he will stay in Columbus for the 2018 season.
My life long dream is to play in the NFL. In order to best achieve this goal, I have decided to forgomy draft eligibility and remain in school.OSU is providing me with a strong and solid foundation which will continue to make achieving my career possible. Go Bucks!
— Dre'Mont Jones (@TheOfficial_80) January 11, 2018
"My life long dream is to play in the NFL," Jones said. "In order to best achieve this goal, I have decided to forgo my draft eligibility and remain in school. OSU is providing me with a strong and solid foundation which will continue to make achieving my career possible."
Considering that Jones was ranked by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller as the No. 35 overall prospect for the 2018 draft and was considered likely to be an early-round draft pick, it wouldn't have come as any surprise if the redshirt sophomore decided now was the time to take his game to the next level.
Instead, however, Jones will return to be one of the stars of Ohio State's 2018 defensive line.
With the departures of defensive ends Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard to the NFL, which leave the Buckeyes with limited depth at the defensive end position, Jones could have the opportunity to play a bigger role in pass-rushing situations next season. Jones was regularly substituted out of the game in favor of the Buckeyes' four-defensive end "Rushmen" package when Ohio State went to its nickel defense this past season.
Even with those substitutions, Jones still played 441 snaps this past season, the most among all Buckeye defensive tackles. Now, he should be in line for even more playing time in 2018 and have the opportunity to take on a true leadership role as one of the defensive line's elder statesmen.
Jones is the second Ohio State player of the day to announce he is returning for another season, joining Parris Campbell. With only four days remaining until the deadline to declare for the 2018 draft, the only Buckeyes who have announced they are leaving early are Denzel Ward, Sam Hubbard and Jerome Baker.