This year there wasn’t much in the way of the Ohio State football QB battle, as the Buckeyes didn’t have many choices. With third-stringer Cardale Jones returning to the Ohio State football team for the 2015-16 season, that tune may change.
Jones announced on Thursday he would return to OSU and eschew the bright lights and big paychecks the NFL could bring. Jones’ decision was almost a foregone conclusion, and the National Championship-winning QB had only started three games for the Buckeyes.
Yes, those three games were impressive, as they came in the Big 10 championship game, a win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoffs semifinals, and then in a win over the University of Oregon Ducks in the national championship game on Monday.
However, Jones’ three-game resume wasn’t deep enough to justify jumping to to the NFL. Scouts and front offices simply didn’t have enough information to go on. However, the decision may have been a bit more altruistic than that.
Jones can earn his degree as a redshirt junior next year, which was apparently important to him. In a press conference Thursday announcing his return to Ohio State next year, Jones said “after three games, [the NFL] was out of the question. A first-round draft pick means nothing to me without my education.”
Jones announcing he will return to the Buckeyes next year means we’ll watch a bona-fide Ohio State football QB battle play out starting this fall. Jones only got his start after original starting QB Braxton Miller injured his shoulder, followed by an injury to backup J.T. Barrett.
Miller was a preseason Heisman candidate last year and will return to the Buckeyes next fall. Barrett also played well in his backup role, and of course Jones went 3-0 in leading the Buckeyes to the national championship. With all three quarterbacks returning to Ohio State, coach Urban Meyer will have his hands full deciding who to line-up under center next season.
One crazy idea: the Oregon Ducks will need a new quarterback, now that Marcus Mariota has declared he’s leaving for the NFL as well. Wouldn’t it be wild if Miller, Barrett or Jones went to start for the team they beat for the championship this week?