Jones a Big Get for Meyer
By Rob Ogden
One of the largest members of Ohio State's 2014 class of signees might be the biggest.
Jamarco Jones, the six-foot-five, 295-pound offensive tackle out Chicago who made coach Urban Meyer sweat out the hours leading up to signing day was well worth the wait, Meyer said Wednesday.
"I got the call last night from Jamarco," Meyer said. "I turn 50 this year but I acted like a 12-year-old. He was one guy we had to have."
And they got him.
Jones committed to the Buckeyes back in June, but informed Ohio State late last month that he wanted to take one last visit to Michigan State. He did so this past weekend, leaving the coaching staff fearing a last-second change of heart.
Instead, he stayed firm to his commitment, and faxed his letter of intent to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Wednesday morning.
"My gut feeling was I always thought he was a Buckeye. I really did," running backs coach Stan Drayton said. "You walked through the school and you see this big old scarlet and gray hat on. You meet his mom. You meet his grandpa. And they're talking nothing but about the Buckeyes.
"But the paranoid side of us, we've been cut in this thing now. We're scarred up in this recruiting, this Signing Day deal. It's not an exact science. So we react off our paranoia and we continue to recruit them until the very end. Happy he's a Buckeye. We needed him."
Widely considered one of the top five-to-10 high-school prospects at his position, Jones headlines a group of five offensive linemen that signed with the Buckeyes Wednesday.
He made the decision with Michigan State still fresh in his mind, which is what mattered most to Meyer.
"I think kids should go on visits," Meyer said. "Jamarco Jones went on a visit at the 11th hour. I don't know if I appreciate that. I would much rather him go on a visit in July or September. But I will never tell a kid you can't visit. And even with Jamarco, I never said you shouldn't do that. He very simply said 'I want to make sure.'"
The father of two collegiate athletes, Meyer said he understands the other side of recruiting, as well.
"If someone ever told my kid you can't go visit, that would be not a pleasant conversation, because those kids deserve to go wherever they want to go to school."
Jones decided he wants to go to Ohio State, where is he much-needed.
With the loss of four starting linemen to graduation and the failure to land a standout group of linemen in his past two classes, Meyer said signing a strong group of offensive linemen in 2014 was a must.
"Last year was a disappointment in the offensive line," referring to the class that produced only Evan Lisle. "I'd say two of the five (incoming freshman) have to be in the depth. And we recruited as such."
Specifically, Meyer referenced Jones, as well Demetrius Knox, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound guard out of Fort Worth, Texas.
"The two that I see the maturity, Jamarco Jones and Demetrius Knox, are guys that I would like to see," Meyer said. "Typically you don't put freshmen in there early, but these guys got mature bodies, and they're fairly mature young men."
Along with Jones and Knox, the Buckeyes added Kyle Trout, of Lancaster, Marcelys Jones, of Cleveland Glenville, and Brady Taylor, of Columbus Bishop Ready.
Meyer described Taylor as someone who might sneak onto the depth chart fairy quickly.
"Impressive guy," he said.
With five offensive line signees and only one running back, Drayton was without many new toys for himself. Instead he spent much of his time talking about the big boys. But he was okay with that.
"Our toys are very useless until we take care of that front, the front five guys we played behind," he said.
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