[This is the ninth installment in our annual series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the previous season’s freshman class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming season. Up next is offensive tackle Dawand Jones.]
By the end of Dawand Jones’ senior season in high school he was one of the most sought after offensive linemen in the nation. The reason for this was two-fold. For one, Jones is 6-foot-8 and 330 pounds and mobile enough to be a very talented basketball player. For two, as programs miss on recruiting targets later in the recruiting cycle, they are forced to move down their respective boards.
Beginning in November, Jones — a 3-star prospect and the No. 1,043 player in the nation — started to pile up offers from USC, Florida State, TCU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Auburn, Florida, and Penn State.
Jones took official visits USC, Ohio State, and Penn State before ultimately committing to the Buckeyes on signing day.
With there being 1,042 players better than Jones in the 2019 recruiting class, there was no reason to expect him to see the field as a freshman.
Pretty early on, however, there was a buzz about Jones.
“We want to recruit big guys who are athletic, and I think when you look at offensive linemen nowadays, you see very athletic guys,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said last August. “Even the big guy — well, a great example of the three guys that we just brought in this year, Harry Miller, very athletic. You look at him, he’s over 300 pounds, but he’s very, very athletic and lean. Enokk Vimahi came in at 270 pounds, he’s now 293 if you can believe that. In two months he’s put on that much weight. Very, very athletic. And then Dawand Jones, if you look at Dawand Jones, he’s 6’8″, 380 pounds, but he’s not — I know it sounds crazy, but he’s not a sloppy-looking guy. He’s put together. He needs to lose weight. But they’re all very, very good athletes.”
Jones played in 10 games as a true freshman, including each of the final eight.
Initially, he was just going to play in four games and maintain his redshirt status. And the first couple of those games came on the field goal block team because of his size and reach. It proved successful, and while he wasn’t credited with a kick block, he was certainly effective at the line.
He was so effective, in fact, that there was discussion of burning his redshirt just for special teams purposes.
Eventually, it was decided that he was good enough to see time on both special teams and offense. He was a backup at tackle and saw snaps on offense against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Rutgers, and Maryland.
Jones’ contributions in 2019 were completely unexpected, and while he was far from perfect as a pass protector, the potential was impossible to miss.
So Now What For Dawand Jones
There is an open right tackle job due to the graduation of Branden Bowen, so Jones will be one of three or four competitors for that spot.
The favorite is redshirt sophomore Nicholas Petit-Frere, but others will get a look, including true freshman Paris Johnson.
Expect Jones to be in the two-deep, presumably at right tackle behind Petit-Frere, and expect him to get snaps on offense in 8-10 games this season.