This fall, four Cleveland Glenville seniors – wide receiver Shane Wynn, quarterback Cardale Jones, offensive lineman Aundrey Walker and linebacker/defensive end Andre Sturdivant – will go through the recruiting process. According to Jones, the group is hoping to stick together when it comes to picking a college.
Should that hold true, the Wolverines and Falcons could stand to benefit. The two programs are the only ones to have issued scholarship offers to all four players, Jones said.
"With us four, we do talk about going to the same school a lot because we've all been playing together since we were so young," the quarterback said. "All of us have the opportunity to go to one school. We don't want to all just split up. We want to stick together."
Speaking at a press conference in Columbus to promote his team's contest against Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) William T. Dwyer as part of the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic, Jones said the group has adopted an "all for one and one for all" motto.
Although the Tarblooders have traditionally sent their top players to Ohio State, Jones said that does not guarantee a future in Columbus for this group.
Asked if it would be hard for the quartet to commit to Michigan, Jones said, "I wouldn't think so, because we know we have a pipeline going to Ohio State but it's not like our coach is making us go there. It's whatever is the best opportunity for us and not just saying ‘the best opportunity for me and two other guys' and one of us gets stuck out. It's trying to find the best spot for all four of us."
Of the four, Walker is the highest-rated prospect in Scout.com's rankings. A four-star prospect, he is ranked No. 12 nationally among offensive guards. The other three are three-star prospects: Jones No. 23 at his position, Sturdivant No. 41 at his and Wynn checking in at No. 87 among wide receivers.
Wynn and Walker have OSU offers. Jones and Sturdivant do not, but the quarterback said he feels one will eventually arrive for him. Asked why, he said, "Just the contact with me, the questions they ask and the things they tell. They basically tell me to stay patient and only time can tell."
Jones added that he is fine with being told to wait because his plan all along has been to take his time before making a final decision. He most recently spoke with OSU cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson three days ago, he said.
Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr. said he is charging Jones with being more of a leader this season.
"I want him to concentrate more on his fundamentals at the position because when you've got a young guy that has talent like him, you rely on his arm," the coach said. "He reminds me of (former Glenville quarterback) Troy (Smith) a lot. I always talk to him about, ‘Man, don't look in the mirror.' "
The message, Ginn said, is to not let how others view Jones to sink in and start affecting his progress. In a recent scrimmage, Jones said he turned a busted play into a 60-yard touchdown pass but that he was chewed out by the coaches upon reaching the sidelines.
The reason? Bad footwork.
"I can not allow him to get caught up in the 60-yard pass, which is hard because you've got the outside influence and you've got everybody that's talking to him," Ginn said. "I have to be the guy to cut his throat because I work with him every day and I want him to be successful. That's what our job is, to put kids in position to reach their full potential."
That translates into recruiting as well. Asked about his players' plan to play together in college, Ginn cautioned against reading too much into it because of the transient nature of life as a 16-year-old.
As he prepares for his senior season, Jones said he took notes from how a pair of Tarblooders led the team last year.
"I'm working on being a more vocal leader because I was a junior last year and we had two seniors in Christian Bryant and Latwan Anderson who were such amazing athletes that I let them do all the talking because they were just so amazing," he said. "They could back it on the field. Now I have more confidence in myself and my team."
The Buckeyes have a verbal commitment from five-star quarterback Braxton Miller from Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne. Asked if there was room for both in OSU's class of 2011, Jones said, "It's a possibility."
So, too, is going to Michigan and playing with three of his teammates.