The first weekend of March was a huge one for Baltimore St. Frances Academy quarterback Jalon Jones, who visited Ohio State and earned an offer during his trip. The Buckeyes joined Florida, Alabama, N.C. State, Virginia, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Louisville and other top programs in offering Jones.
“I was very excited. I grew up watching teams that Coach [Urban] Meyer coached, especially Florida back in the day,” Jones explained. “It’s a great offer to have and to get from somebody like him makes it better. I have a great interest level in Ohio State. I like them and they like me.”
Jones is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound prospect who ranks as the No. 10 dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 recruiting class on the 247Sports composite rankings. Jones is rated as a 3-star recruit, the No. 435 player overall and the No. 10 prospect in Maryland.
It was a case of delayed gratification for Jones in receiving his long-awaited offer from Ohio State. Jones didn’t mind, however, and appreciated the attention to personal detail and connection that Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff have shown early on in his recruitment.
“Coach Meyer came up to my high school to look for me, because I had gotten snowed in. I missed him. They told me to come up this week for an unofficial visit, so I came up,” Jones said. “He had to leave to go handle some business, so what [Meyer] wanted to do was offer me face-to-face. It meant a lot to me that he wanted to do it face-to-face and not over the phone or anything or to have somebody on his staff do it. He wanted to sit me down, look me in my face and give me a scholarship offer, so that meant a lot to me.”
The trip started strong with an offer from the Buckeyes shortly after Jones arrived on campus on Friday, but he spent time throughout Friday and Saturday getting to see Ohio State and learning more about the program and what it had to offer. He said he was impressed with what he saw.
“The campus was great. I really liked it. I got to stay with Dwayne Haskins, so he was a cool dude and he showed me stuff. I really liked the campus and the field and everything,” Jones said. “The facilities and all that, with all of the football stuff and everything that they offer, that would all help me set up my life for after football. So I enjoyed it a lot.”
Although the mutual interest between Ohio State and Jones is still relatively new, the Buckeyes are on the short list of the programs making a strong impression and speaking frequently with Jones.
“I speak most frequently with Ohio State, Virginia, North Carolina State and Florida right now. I don’t have any other visits set up at this time or a top schools list,” Jones said. “I don’t really have a timeframe for a decision. It’s kind of just whenever it feels right, then I’ll do it. It could be next year or next month, it doesn’t matter.”
Ohio State is familiar with Jones’ high school program, as the Buckeyes signed Kareem Felder out of St. Frances in the 2016 class. Felder never played at Ohio State and ended up at Rutgers under a different name, Tre Avery.
In addition to Jones, Ohio State has offered three other prospects in St. Frances Academy’s 2019 graduating class – Shane Lee, Joachim Bangda and Darrian Dalcourt. Lee, Bangda and Dalcourt recently visited Ohio State as a group and the idea of keeping the band together at the college level has been entertained among the quartet. They have high expectations for one another in the fall.
“We’re all close friends and we’ve all talked about it, of course. ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be crazy if we all ended up going to the same school?’ That would be great, but that’s really it, it’s just talking. … My expectation for our team is just to continue to dominate and do what we did last year,” Jones said. “We’re going to be a different team; there’s nothing like that. I don’t really expect this team to be last year’s team at all because we have a whole ‘nother dynamic. We’re just going to continue to dominate and do well.”
Stay tuned for more news on Ohio State’s top 2019 quarterback targets. Jones was the first quarterback to visit the program in March, but he won’t be the last and more trips are on the horizon soon. Check out the details in a previous installment of Dotting the Eyes.