Jones Dominates PA, Still On OSU Track

Cardale Jones didn't earn an Ohio State offer until late in the 2011 recruiting process, but the Cleveland Glenville star just keeps getting better and better. His most recent standout performance came in the Big 33 Classic on Saturday night, after which he said he's still on track to join OSU in January.

If Cardale Jones is the odd man out in the Ohio State class of 2011, he certainly doesn't seem to feel that way.

While the rest of his OSU-bound teammates on Ohio's Big 33 roster were talking about moving into the dorms in Columbus the day after Saturday night's romp over Pennsylvania, Jones was simply getting ready to enjoy the rest of his summer.

That's because, as one of two quarterbacks in the class and with a logjam already at the position in Columbus, Jones is the lone member of the class who is delaying his enrollment a season, or taking a grayshirt in the popular parlance.

So while Devin Smith, Nick Vannett, Antonio Underwood, Doran Grant, Chase Farris and Steve Miller had to hustle from Hershey, Pa., to Ohio State's campus the next morning, Jones was free to return to the Buckeye State at his leisure.

"It's sort of weird, but I don't have to wake up tomorrow," he said with a laugh. "I can sleep in."

It was likely restful sleep, too, after Jones helped Ohio decimate the Pennsylvania squad while putting up the most points in the Buckeye State's 24 appearances at the annual all-star game.

Jones piloted the Ohio squad to touchdowns on his first four drives, helping his home state open a 35-7 lead early in the third quarter on the way to a dominating 50-14 victory. Not only that, he had a big hand in each of the first four scores.

First, he snagged a high shotgun snap and still managed to hand off to Akise Teague, who took the draw play 52 yards up the gut to paydirt to open the scoring midway through the first. One drive later, Jones hit Akron-bound wideout Tyler Williams for a 45-yard pass that set up another Teague touchdown run, making it 14-0.

The next time Jones saw the field, he let his arm do the damage, first hitting Teague for a 21-yard swing pass then leading Smith for a picture-perfect 54-yard score over the top of the Keystone State defense. Finally, early in the third quarter, he hit Teague, a Cincinnati signee, down the middle of the field for a 40-yard score.

For the showing, Jones was quick to credit the chemistry the Ohio team created in the week of practice leading up to the game.

"I got to know these guys great over the week we've been together and learned to trust them," he said. "It was great. We had a great O-line. They gave us great push, great blocking, great timing for the routes with our receivers and things like that so it gave us a lot of confidence."

Jones finished the day 4 of 6 passing for 160 yards and the two scores. He also added two rushes for 3 yards, but that didn't quite tell the whole story, as he twice escaped pressure in the backfield to avoid potential losses.

Those are the types of skills that made him a three-star quarterback in the Scout database and the No. 24 player at his position in the '11 class. However, the Cleveland Glenville product didn't have an Ohio State offer until the very end of the recruiting process, picking the Buckeyes on signing day.

"Cardale is a bigger guy, very strong arm, very athletic kid," quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano said on signing day of the 6-5, 230-pounder. "He plays the game hard and plays the game fast. Cardale is also a threat in the run game. He's a little bigger, a little stronger than we've had from a run-game standpoint. Very athletic young man."

With five-star signal caller Braxton Miller, the nation's No. 2 quarterback in the class, also a Buckeye who enrolled in January, Siciliano said on signing day that Jones would delay his enrollment until January 2012. That continues to be the plan even after the departure of Terrelle Pryor, leaving Miller, Joe Bauserman, Kenny Guiton and Taylor Graham to compete for the starting role.

Jones said he was contacted by OSU once Pryor left about changing his enrollment plans but that he still plans to go to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, the same school at which current back Carlos Hyde and former OSU star Eddie George prepped, for a season.

"I didn't take my ACT in May so that went out the window," he said of speeding up his enrollment. "At Fork Union I want to work on being a better quarterback, just getting better and being ready for Ohio State."

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