Ohio State knew it needed help along the offensive line and the February signing period has delivered another dose of it: Indianapolis 3-star offensive tackle Dawand Jones has picked the Buckeyes over Penn State, USC, Indiana, Auburn and others.
Jones is the second offensive lineman to commit to Ohio State on the first day of the February signing period, joining 4-star guard Enokk Vimahi, who did the same earlier on Wednesday.
Indiana’s 13th-ranked 2019 prospect, Jones was discovered late in the recruiting process by the Buckeyes, but that didn’t stop them from making a major push for his signature in November. That came thanks to a double-pronged attack led by Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day.
“It was the best fit for me,” Jones told Lettermen Row on Tuesday night. “The academics and the coaching staff, the best fit for me that way. When I visited there I really felt the love there, the brotherhood.”
With a massive frame at 6-foot-8, 360-pounds, the tackle started his athletic career focused on basketball and actually took official visits to Ball State and Kent State for that sport. That limited his ability to take football visits, so the Buckeyes had to strike when they got their chance in mid-January — and they did just that. Jones told Lettermen Row following that trip that he had Ohio State at the top of his list.
“Ohio State is still my top school,” he said. “It’s between Penn State and Florida for my last official visit.”
That final trip ended up being taken to Penn State. The Nittany Lions pushed the Buckeyes in the last week, but ultimately the relationship with Wilson and Day provided Jones with his answer. He now needs to build his relationship with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, who was not involved in his recruitment much at all until his official visit weekend.
“I haven’t spent a lot of time with [Studrawa],” he said last month. “But I know he can develop me like he’s done everybody else.”
Now that he’s signed his Letter of Intent with Ohio State, Jones is ready to get back to his roots — the basketball court.
“It’s a big relief,” he added. “I get to focus on playing basketball and my academics.”
And Ryan Day and the Buckeyes get to turn their focus fully to the Class of 2020 and beyond.
— Lettermen Row (@LettermenRow) February 6, 2019