COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State picked up a huge commitment in June when it landed Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall 4-star offensive guard Matthew Jones.
The school has been a great source of talent for the Buckeyes in recent years, with H-back Curtis Samuel signing in 2014 and safety Jahsen Wint signing in 2016. Jones — the nation’s No. 59 overall prospect and No. 3 offensive guard — gave a big boost to Ohio State’s class when he issued his pledge. His commitment pushed the Buckeyes to the top spot in the 2018 recruiting rankings.
To learn what Jones can bring to Ohio State, Land of 10 caught up with Erasmus Hall football coach Danny Landberg.
Q: Why does Matthew Jones stand out on the football field?
Landberg: Usually the more athletic linemen go to defense. Our whole thought process was that he’s such an incredible athlete, what would happen if we made him an offensive guard? He would stand out. We made a choice as a staff to keep him on the offensive side instead of defense for college purposes. It was an outside-the-box thought that his brand would go through the roof — to have a guy like him on the offensive line who’s more athletic than the defensive lineman in front of him.
Q: Has it worked out the way you hoped it would?
Landberg: He is arguably — and I say, this including Curtis Samuel — arguably the best player I’ve had so far, relatively speaking.
Q: What makes you say that?
Landberg: If you watch his film, he’s so dominant. He went up against a kid with a Boston College offer and treated him like a child. His athleticism is so spectacular. When a guy like [strength and conditioning coach] Mickey Marotti at Ohio State gets him in the weight room, it’s going to triple.
Q: Did you know right away that he’d ultimately be this good?
Landberg: We knew. We knew right away. As soon as we saw him, we knew what we were getting. He’s going to be a future first-round draft pick.
Q: What was it like watching him go through the recruiting process?
Landberg: He was very cool and very calm. It’s great that he’s not a big social media kid. I dealt with all of that for him. I brought him to meet Urban Meyer in eighth grade because I want Urban to see what’s going on. Urban understands why I’m bringing a certain kid that far. But I thought [Jones] handled his recruitment really well.
Q: How do you see him fitting in at the college level?
Landberg: We’re going to have him as an early enrollee, and hopefully he’ll get into the mix right away. I can’t say whether he’ll play right away because you have to gain a familiarity with the playbook, but it’s possible. We feel like he has an opportunity to play early, and I fully expect him to be an All-American football player.
Q: How would you describe his personality?
Landberg: He’s a very quiet kid and a very laid-back kid, more laid-back than you can imagine. He likes to go fishing and likes to work on cars. That’s about it. He does what he’s told, and he’s a great kid.