One player that people have expected to be leaning towards Ohio State, Georgia 2018 quarterback Emory Jones, may be backing off a plan to make his college decision this week. The country’s second-ranked dual-threat quarterback spent two days in Knoxville this past weekend and it seems the Volunteers did exactly what they needed to.
“Tennessee really gave me their all,” Jones shared with Landof10.com. “It was amazing. They’re probably back even (with Ohio State).”
While that sounds like bad news for Tim Beck and the Buckeyes, it definitely could be worse. Butch Jones and the Vols landed eight commitments thanks to their big “Orange Carpet” weekend and Jones wasn’t one of them. To say no in the face of significant pressure to say yes means Ohio State had a pretty comfortable cushion. If you remember, before receiving his Ohio State offer, Jones was close – really close – to committing to Tennessee. The reason he didn’t? Ohio State was his “dream school.” Hearing from the Buckeyes changed his entire recruitment and that’s telling. Ohio State has a lot of influence in his recruitment. Only the Buckeyes’ interest and surge prevented him from committing to Tennessee. The Buckeyes may not lead right now (though I think they probably still do), but they’re not trailing.
While the Volunteers didn’t get the huge commitment they no doubt were pushing for, they did manage to get him to delay a commitment to Ohio State. At least for now.
What’s the potential hold up?
What methods are Tennessee, Clemson and others using in hopes of fighting off the Buckeyes? A recruiting staple: the depth chart.
Every good program has good players, right? Yes, but other coaches are saying that at Ohio State, Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins, Tate Martell and Danny Clark would be on the roster ahead of Jones.
“When will you get playing time, Emory?”
That’s something that is in play here. Will that sway Jones? I don’t know, but I’m not inclined to think so.
There’s another, less important factor as well: distance from home. In 2015, Ohio State missed on Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane, a 4-star linebacker who grew up dreaming of playing for the Buckeyes. Why? Florida State was able to convince him that everything he could get from a college career as a Buckeye, he could get as a Seminole. While it’s debatable Tennessee can match Ohio State on that front, the lure of staying closer to home is always something to watch.
My pick for Jones is still the Buckeyes, and I think that the sooner a decision happens, the more likely it’s Ohio State. It’s important to Jones to commit early. He wants to be a leader in his recruiting class, helping bring talent along with him.
The more time that separates him from his recent visit to Tennessee, the more he’ll lean back towards Ohio State.