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Ohio State QB commit Emory Jones checks out Florida Gators
Quarterback Emory Jones committed to Ohio State nearly 18 months but nothing seems imminent about his anticipated 2018 arrival in Columbus. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect continues to explore other collegiate options, and those efforts will lead him to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend.
Jones is currently on campus at the University of Florida for an official visit, according to Zach Abolverdi of SEC Country. The timing of this trip is particularly interesting as new Gators coach Dan Mullen is suddenly on the hunt for a pledge at this paramount position.
Matt Corral, a 4-star passer who committed to the previous Florida regime, flipped his commitment to Ole Miss on Thursday night. It’s no secret the Gators need to improve at quarterback and can present roster opportunities that recruits might find alluring.
Jones, considered the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback and a top-50 overall prospect in the 247Sports 2018 composite rankings, may fit the bill for exactly what Mullen needs as he attempts to make his mark at Florida. Just as Urban Meyer can, the former Mississippi State coach can provide past examples of dynamic quarterbacks who’ve flourished in his offensive system.
It’s been evident for a while that Jones wasn’t heading to Columbus without at least looking in a few other directions. Alabama and Auburn both have been in pursuit, with the Crimson Tide claiming 11 consecutive 247Sports Crystal Ball projections through mid-December.
RELATED: 2018 Ohio State recruiting big board
Now, perhaps things are trending toward an alternative SEC destination. The past five Crystal Ball predictions point toward Florida, and that result would be pretty impressive for Mullen considering his short history with Jones when compared to the other contenders.
Jones is expected to finalize his collegiate plans during the inaugural early signing period (Dec. 20-22) so odds are this will be his last campus visit prior to putting pen to paper.
Ohio State, meanwhile, added a second quarterback to its class Dec. 7. Former Colorado State commit Matthew Baldwin is now on board, and it remains to be seen how proactive the Buckeyes might be after Christmas if Jones does indeed back off his verbal pledge.
— Emory Jones (@eXjones6) July 21, 2017
Larry Johnson sets the record straight: ‘I am not going anywhere’
Entering the most important weeks of this 2018 recruiting cycle, Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson clearly felt compelled to clear the air.
Johnson, in his fourth season with the Buckeyes, probably heard rumors of his potential retirement. If you’re on social media and follow recruiting, odds are you’ve come across this kind of speculation at some point.
Stuff like this tends to overflow into recruiting conversations, and Johnson apparently has heard enough.
— Larry A. Johnson (@R2X_Rushmen1) December 15, 2017
You don’t even need to read between the lines to understand Johnson’s frustration. He seems to clearly assert that people, presumably those on coaching staffs at another program(s), have been attempting to inject doubt about his longevity with the Buckeyes.
Johnson did his best to shut down that outside noise Friday, capping off a week in which he helped secure a commitment from blue-chip defensive tackle Tommy Togiai.
This doesn’t mean prospects and their parents won’t ask Johnson about his plans. Honestly, that’s something college football coaches of any age must address because of the nature of this industry.
Still, this public statement may send a strong message to any prospects who’ve perhaps carried lingering concern. Johnson is an ace recruiter and highly respected among young defensive linemen, so it’s understandable why he would take time to address information he feels is false and may be being fed to top high school talent.
Both players are considering other options and could end up with a conference rival if they decide to head elsewhere. Oweh and Smith plan to announce their decisions Jan. 4 during the Under Armour All-America Game.
Perception can play a pivotal role in the final phases of a whirlwind recruitment. Since Johnson plans to stick with Ohio State moving ahead, this tweet was the right move.
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