No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes, know they’ll face No. 8 Notre Dame in the 2016 BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl.
And while the outcome of the game is unpredictable, the answer is anyone’s guess, on the future of Cardale Jones.
After the Buckeyes home finale against Michigan State, Jones posted a picture on Instagram telling fans that was his final appearance in scarlet and grey at Ohio Stadium.
And while he didn’t say what he planned on doing after this season, it’s only right to speculate his future.
Realistically, there are only two paths Jones will take: Either transfer to another university or turn pro.
Although he became a Buckeye legend during his performance as the third-string quarterback, during the 2014-15 season, he never performed at that potential this season.
Former Ohio State offensive coordinator and current Houston Cougars football coach Tom Herman is the “mastermind” behind the quarterback performances last year of both J.T. Barrett and Jones.
Herman and Houston came to an agreement in principle that is keeping the coach in the Space City for at least one more season.
When the news came out, Herman noted that he didn’t see any bumps that would effect negotiations.
“These things take twists and turns along the way as they sometimes do, but I don’t anticipate that happening,” Herman said.
Cougars starting quarterback, Greg Ward Jr., is only a junior, but Jones may have the upside and passing skill set to win the job. Of course, that is if he decides to transfer to Houston.
Or, he could decide to play for another coach. Surely, Jones would have a handful of programs to choose from.
After watching Jones play in the Buckeyes final three games last season, it became apparent he was by far the most NFL-built quarterback on OSU’s roster.
Size and arm strength cannot be taught to a quarterback, so his natural gift is something an NFL franchise would want. An ideal fit would be with a team that can let Jones learn from an experienced veteran.
Without a doubt, Jones is not a day one starter in the NFL. With 11 starts to his name, he lacks not only a full regular season of play, but also game time experience.
Being pulled from the Northern Illinois and Penn State games just shows how much he still needs to learn. And with the struggles the Buckeyes have had at quarterback this season, it just shows how important Herman was to not only the quarterbacks, but the overall success of the teams offense.
At the end of the day, an NFL team will take a chance on Jones. Right now, he could be drafted as early as the third-round, (assuming a team is willing to take a chance on potential), to possibly not even being drafted.
The opportunity to still play in college and to play for a coach that is capable of developing pro-style quarterbacks would have to be somewhat enticing. Outside of performing horribly, thus possibly losing a once promising NFL future, nothing worse could come from the decision.
Urban Meyer has shown the ability to successfully coach dual-threat quarterbacks, but not a pro-style one like Jones.
I believe that Jones will transfer and play for another university. If that happens, he’ll not only attend a program that has the right system for him, but who also has coaches who will help turn his career around.
Jones will most likely wait until after the Buckeyes season concludes to announce his future. But taking a path with a familiar face like Herman or a different coach wouldn’t be the worst decision he’s ever made.