Nick Bosa had been telling anyone who would listen that Dre’Mont Jones was going to return for a fourth season with the Buckeyes. Jones, however, was never so sure.
Heading into the 2017 season, Jones’ name was already populating mock drafts. Even though he didn’t put up the statistics in 2017 that he did in 2016, he was still seen by most as a late first-round draft pick.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer were hopeful that Dre’Mont Jones would return, but their pessimism would sometimes get the best of them.
Rather than take the plunge and head to the NFL, however, Jones decided to return for one more season. The plan was two-fold, involving his ability to make the Buckeyes better and also to improve his draft stock.
Bosa never had a doubt that Jones would return, but that doesn’t mean he’s taking the credit.
“That’s all Coach J though,” Bosa said this spring. “I definitely let him know what I wanted, but Coach J really sat down with him and got him to figure out what’s best for him. I’m glad he’s back.”
What is best for Jones is also best for Ohio State football. He is going to be on the field a whole lot more this season, and everyone will get a good, long look at what he brings to a defense.
“He’s going to get to play third downs, which is huge for him stock-wise and just getting better as a player,” Bosa said. “He takes all of the reps he can in one-on-ones, but actually getting out on the game field and pass rushing is a whole different thing. It’s going to be awesome to watch him.”
Standing in front of reporters after Saturday’s spring game, Meyer confirmed Bosa’s prediction.
“The guy that’s probably had the best spring of anybody on our team is Dre’Mont Jones,” he said. “He was outstanding this spring.”
It wasn’t just Meyer and Bosa who noticed it, either.
“He wasn’t getting blocked at all,” said sophomore defensive end Chase Young. “Like in the spring, he might get seven plays and he might get five sacks out of seven plays. So Dre’Mont really doesn’t like getting blocked. So I think this year — Dre’Mont has been good every year he played, but this year it might be something different.”
His play on the practice field has been impressive, which isn’t always the case for somebody who flirted with the NFL. Questions can sometimes linger for players who may have had one foot out the door. There have been no such questions from Dre’Mont Jones, however.
“For a guy to come back when a lot of people thought he should leave, a lot of times we have to deal with, whether it be effort issues or ‘Why am I doing this?’ issues, zero,” Meyer said. “That’s a credit to his family, and Larry Johnson. He had a great spring. And if he continues his development, he could be one of the best in America at what he does.”