It also appears current head coach Urban Meyer is bound and determined to keep the Tarblooder Pipeline open to Ohio State, and junior offensive tackle Marcelys Jones is the first commit in the 2014 Buckeye recruiting class.
WHAT IS THERE TO LIKE WITH JONES? First and foremost, is the size, and at 6-foot-5, 320-pounds, Jones has a massive body. Secondly, what might not be realized is the overall athletic ability Jones brings to the table. He has punted and kicked off for the Tarblooders, and while the Glenville special teams will never be confused with Virginia Tech, it does speak to the flexibility and leg drive Jones possesses. Both traits are admirable in offensive linemen. Jones also plays strong, and once he gets his hands on a defender, he locks on and keeps his man blocked. Another question that sometimes gets overlooked with lineman, is Does this player like playing football? You can have the best body, best feet, best wingspan and best leg-bend in America, but if you do not like the violent nature of line play you absolutely will not succeed at the college level as an offensive lineman. With Jones, the answer appears to be YES, and I have seen him play LIVE at least five full games to date. He also has power behind his punch, and the leg drive needed to be an excellent run blocker. I believe he CAN play tackle at the next level, if he reaches his potential.
WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS? There are no perfect football players, especially those in their junior seasons of high school, and Jones has areas that must be improved upon to be a success at Ohio State. In watching him play, it's very apparent that he does not play hard on every snap, and Jones takes plays off. Now this could be a by-product of carrying 25-30 pounds of extra weight, or it could be a sign that he is not in shape. Or BOTH. In comparison, Massillon junior lineman Nathaniel Devers might not have the upside of Jones, but he plays on BOTH sides of the football, participating in twice as many snaps, and NEVER takes a play off. To play for Meyer, this needs to change. Evaluating Marcelys Jones isn't all that easy, because we have yet to see his best. If he gets his body slimmer, and improves his conditioning dramatically, we might be looking at a radically different football player. As it is, he's pretty good.
WHERE WILL HE BE RANKED? We have not finalized the 2014 Ohio rankings yet, but an early guess would be that Jones is a Top-30 player in-state, and an early three-star recruit. Of course, if he shows up next season at 300-pounds and in great shape, he would definitely be a candidate to rise in the rankings. Right now, he would rank as the fourth or fifth best offensive lineman in Ohio's junior class.
WHO DOES HE COMPARE TO? Again, this is not an easy player to compare to another, so right now I would have him as a Marcus Hall on the high side, and a Tommy Brown/Chris Carter on the low side. In tip-top shape, Jones has a high ceiling. In present condition, there is a low floor. We should know a heck of a lot about Marcelys Jones on August 1st, 2014, when two-a-day practices begin. His physical appearance at the start of next season will give us a glimpse at what's going on inside his head and heart.
WHAT ARE THE INTANGIBLES? Marcelys Jones is extremely well-liked by head coach Ted Ginn, who has been singing the big fellow's praises for two years. Jones is a team player, and he is willing to play defensive tackle in addition to his offensive line duties. Never underestimate the importance of a player being coachable at the next level, as many times that is the difference between success and failure, especially when the talent is present. Jones also has the ability to play all five spots on the offensive line, and his versatility could get him on the field early at Ohio State. Many times, linemen are limited to playing only one spot, which also limits their value unless they are clearly the best player at their position. The bottom line for me is always talent, and Marcelys Jones absolutely has the talent to play and succeed at the next level. He has a lot to overcome, as weight and conditioning are two tough hurdles for younger linemen, but if he can dedicate himself and take his game to the next level, Ohio State could have landed a beauty in Marcelys Jones.
Here is junior film of Jones (white jersey #65) in action against Cleveland St. Ignatius: