Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class – the country’s fourth-ranked class – featured 25 signees from 11 states and many of those players are expected to contribute to the Buckeyes on-field success early in their careers.
Join Landof10.com as we introduce you to the next wave of Buckeyes in our Young Bucks series.
Today, we spend our time talking about linebacker Keandre Jones, who committed to Ohio State in January of 2016 after spending more than year as a verbal pledge to the University of Maryland.
Who is Keandre Jones?
For over a year – from December of 2014 to January 18th, 2016 – Keandre Jones was a Maryland commitment. He chose to stay home with Terps but when Randy Edsall was removed as Maryland’s head coach, things began to shift in his recruitment.
- Height: 6-foot-2
- Weight: 218
- Number: 14
- Hometown: Olney (MD)
- High School: Good Counsel High School
- Composite Ranking: 8 (Outside Linebacker)
- High School Highlights
Jones had always been interested in Ohio State, but the Buckeyes – led by linebackers coach Luke Fickell – were waiting patiently for the chance to make a move on a linebacker that they’d coveted for months. When Edsall was terminated, Ohio State struck quickly. Fickell took a visit to Maryland on January 14, 2016 and Jones made an official visit to Columbus the very next day. By the time he left the Buckeyes campus on January 17, Jones knew he was going to play his college football at Ohio State. On January 18, Jones – along with his good friend and fellow Buckeyes freshman Dwayne Haskins, Jr. – committed to Ohio State and he signed with Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes two weeks later.
What does he bring to Ohio State?
In the mold of Ryan Shazier and Darron Lee before him, what Keandre Jones brings the Buckeyes defense is speed, aggression and a nose for the football from the outside linebacker position.
“He was a guy that we had targeted probably after his junior year that on film was a guy that was very dynamic, and I guess maybe you’d say the Sam backer position, the prototype of what we’re looking for,” Luke Fickell said of Jones on signing day in February. “You could kind of bottle up Darron Lee and say this is a hybrid type of guy we really want. An athletic guy that can blitz that can cover space out there.
“From all the recruiting, watching all the film going into even before his senior year, junior year, he was probably the one guy we targeted to say, ‘Wow that guy fits exactly the mold of what we want.’”
On a local radio show following signing day, Urban Meyer said he thinks that Jones could be the “jewel” of the 2016 recruiting class. He also thinks the Good Counsel star has the chance to be as much of an impact person as he does player.
“He stole your heart,” Meyer said of Jones. “I can’t wait for Buckeye Nation to meet him. He’ll be a captain for Ohio State some day.”
Will he play as a freshman?
Jones has already begun adding weight – a key that he had to do in order to play in 2016 – and is up to 218 pounds. Ohio State’s outside linebacker situation – at least the starters – is pretty well solidified, but behind Dante Booker and Chris Worley, there is a chance for playing time. Prior to the Buckeyes media day on Sunday, Aug. 14, Meyer suggested that Jones is likely to play this fall.
“Keandre is a guy that we anticipate to play,” Meyer said.
Of course, “playing” doesn’t always mean playing anything other than special teams, which is where you should expect to see Jones making his first tackles this year.
Fairly or unfairly, Ryan Shazier – who played in 13 games as a freshman in 2011, starting three – and Darron Lee (who redshirted in 2013) will be the standard that Jones is measured against during his Ohio State career. Expect that career, and those comparisons, to get started soon.