Emory Jones, a 4-star quarterback prospect from Georgia who had been verbally committed to Ohio State for nearly 18 months, signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Florida instead on Wednesday.
Jones, who is ranked as the 40th-best player in the 2018 class in the 247 Composite, first announced his plans to play for the Buckeyes in July 2016, but had seemingly been wavering on that decision ever since.
The rollercoaster really started in March 2017, when Nick Saban and Alabama offered him a scholarship. Jones visited the Tide on four different occasions between March and October of this year, and then went to Auburn twice in a two-week span in November. That sparked serious questions about how likely he really was to end up part of Ohio State’s top-ranked recruiting class.
He made three visits to Columbus in 2017, an unofficial trip in April, then another for the Friday Night Lights camp in July, and then an official visit for the Buckeyes’ comeback win over Penn State in late October.
OSU coaches, perhaps concerned that they might end up missing out on a quarterback in the 2018 class entirely if Jones bolted, handed out scholarship offers to a handful of other prospects in November. One of them, 3-star Matthew Baldwin, committed to the Bucks on December 7th. Jones responded by posting a single emoji on Twitter.
— Emory Jones (@eXjones6) December 8, 2017
Even so, the rumors about his possible departure seemed to have settled down again before new Florida coach Dan Mullen made a hard push for his pledge. The quarterback and his mother visited Gainesville the weekend of December 16, and that was apparently enough to sway his decision.
Mullen served as Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Florida a decade ago, and runs an offensive system similar to Meyer’s. Florida’s quarterback depth chart is far less imposing than Ohio State’s, and of course, Gainesville is substantially closer to Jones’ home in Georgia than Columbus is.
On Wednesday, Urban Meyer indicated that once Matthew Baldwin committed, that essentially ended their search for a quarterback in this initial signing period due to room.
“Just can’t numbers wise,” he said. “Yeah, I’d take two any time we can, especially with our situation, it’s just a little fluid right now. I just don’t know our roster number.
The loss of Jones leaves the Buckeyes looking at a likely depth chart of four quarterbacks for 2018; redshirt junior Joe Burrow, redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins, redshirt freshman Tate Martell, and the true freshman Baldwin.