Ohio State to play in line recruit's backyard
Jamarco Jones (54) of Chicago De La Salle, a highly regarded football commitment to OSU, will have to say goodbye to another sport he loves — basketball — when he joins the Buckeyes in 2014.
Jamarco Jones is fired up about Ohio State’s game at Northwestern tonight because, to borrow the theme song from ESPN’s College GameDay, “the Buckeyes are coming … to his city.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Jones, a blue-chip offensive line prospect from Chicago (De La Salle) who committed to OSU in June. “You get to see all the Buckeye fans come through Chicago —I am sure there will be tons here.
“And it’s another prime-time game for Ohio State, and College GameDay is going to be here.”
If only Jones had a ticket to the game in nearby Evanston. But a week after traveling to Columbus to watch the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in prime time, for which being an OSU recruit he was allowed to accept free admission, he won’t have that luxury tonight. Already committed to OSU, he isn’t being recruited by Northwestern, and the visiting team is not allowed to play host to prospects at away games.
But he’ll be there in spirit, he said, because in many ways he already feels like he is a Buckeye. Since picking OSU over Michigan and Michigan State, a couple of other schools have stayed in contact with him — he wouldn’t say which ones — but he has remained firm in his decision.
He is ranked 108th among overall prospects nationally by Rivals.com, and 12th among offensive tackles. Jones is considered one of the elite prospects in an OSU class that, with 18 players committed so far, is ranked No. 3 overall by Rivals behind Alabama and Tennessee.
“Each one of the players in our class is great, or else coach (Urban) Meyer wouldn’t recruit them,” Jones said. “Each player brings something good to the table, and as coach Meyer says all the time, he recruits players who he thinks can play early and often.”
Jones thinks that goes especially for the four offensive linemen already in the class.
“I think we’re all great players,” he said. “We all bring a lot to the table. And we’re all going to come in there and work hard, and try to contribute as early as we can.”
One thing he will leave behind is basketball; the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Jones is a “throw it down” player for De La Salle. He said he will miss basketball “a lot. I love basketball. It’s a release from focusing on football all year, so it’s going to be hard not playing.”
He committed to play football at OSU in part because of the tradition, the forecast for continued good teams under Meyer, and because of the relationship he built with the Buckeyes’ lead recruiter for the Chicago area, defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, a three-time Super Bowl winner.
“It was crazy when I first met him, when he first came to my school,” Jones said. “I feel like I have a great relationship with coach Vrabel, and not just from the football standpoint but also from a personal standpoint. I can call him and talk about anything.”
NCAA rules don’t allow college coaches to talk about a prospect until he has either enrolled early — and Jones said he won’t be doing that — or signed a national letter of intent in February. What stands out about their conversations, Jones said, is how little they are about puffing him up and more about ways he can improve as a player, student and person.
“Coach Vrabel is a very straightforward person,” Jones said. “He tries to help you in all aspects of life, not just football.”
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SHORING UP THE LINE
Ohio State has four offensive line prospects committed to the 2014 class, with room for perhaps one more:
Jamarco Jones / 6-5, 295
Chicago (De La Salle)
Marcelys Jones / 6-4, 345
Demetrius Knox / 6-4 290
Fort Worth, Texas (All Saints Episcopal)
Kyle Trout / 6-6, 280
Chad Mavety / 6-6, 320
Garden City, N.Y. (Nassau CC)
Damian Prince / 6-5, 292
Forestville, Md. (McNamara)
Alex Bookser / 6-6, 295
Mount Lebanon, Pa.
Brian Wallace / 6-6, 304
St. Louis (Christian Brothers)
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