Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Cardale Jones Puts Post Football Life First

On Dec. 5, 2014, Cardale Jones was a nobody. Third-string quarterbacks in top football programs rarely make the national news. However, there was something different about Jones. On Jan. 12, 2015, he was the biggest name in college football, after leading Ohio State in one of the most incredible post seasons in football history.

Jones’s story doesn’t start so recently, however, and may encourage college athletes to reconsider the way in which they evaluate themselves. But before Jones made history, he needed time to become the man he is.

Despite being a redshirt sophomore, Cardale is 22 years old. He took an extra semester of high school to get his grades up so he could go to Ohio State. He then became an “early enrollee” staring in the spring of 2012. He promptly made national headlines by tweeting the following: “Why should we have to go class when we came here to play FOOTBALL. We ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS.”

Fast forward two seasons and Jones is sitting third string behind two-time reigning Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year Braxton Miller, and unknown but talented J.T. Barrett. In preseason workouts, Miller suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, shoving Barrett into the spotlight. Barrett proceeded to lead Ohio State to a one-loss regular season, only dropping one early season affair to Virginia Tech. Barrett preformed so well in his first season of work that he  finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Ohio State’s season was threatened once again in the final game of the regular season, when Barrett gruesomely broke his ankle, finally putting Jones in his starting role. Jones had one game to show the College Football Playoff Selection Committee that he could ensure no drop off for the fourth-best team in the country. Jones’s real story started on Dec. 6 when he obliterated a strong Wisconsin defense to the tune of 59-0.

Many people were skeptical of Ohio State despite the team’s win in the Big 10 Championship Game. They thought that Ohio State would clearly fall to the football titan that was Alabama. On New Year’s Day, an incredible play by sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliot and the dominating Cardale Jones shocked the sporting world. Jones repeatedly shrugged off soon-to-be NFL defenders only to lower his shoulder for extra yardage. Jones’s 6’4″ 240-pound frame supports not only a kind of physical dominance, but also a cannon of an arm which allowed him to easily make a deep throw that other quarterbacks wouldn’t even attempt.

The scene was repeated in the National Championship against the Oregon Ducks where, despite four turnovers, the Buckeyes dominated the game and cruised to victory. Cardale’s pandemonium was in full force and the biggest question of all came to the forefront: Could Cardale jump from college to the NFL after only three collegiate starts? And if he did where would he go?

The question debated at length was if Jones could make the leap so many others couldn’t. Then Jones took to Twitter, the social media outlet that got him in trouble just three years earlier, to announce that big decisions were ahead. Jones would hold a press conference at his old high school to announce his career choice.

Jones stood at the podium in front of the press conference to announce that he was returning to Ohio State-a surprising decision, but one that makes Jones a legend.

Jones looked at the camera after he said he was returning and stated his case for his decision. He didn’t mention having unfinished business or going for another title, or even getting better as a player. He said that he valued his education more than football and that his academics would take him ten times farther than his athletic career. He said he wanted to be a financial planner and that he needed a degree. Cardale Jones isn’t the typical athlete-student that football has created recently; he believes in the head on his shoulders.

Record numbers of underclassmen have been leaving school for the NFL as of late, but many of those players will not last very long. The average NFL career is only about three years. Jones went from joke to folk hero, and now his draft stock may never be higher. There is no guarantee that he will even play for the Buckeyes next year. But Jones embodied the message that every parent should tell their child: Your brain is more important than your body. You will lose your physical gifts, but the stuff between your ears will be with you forever.

And for that reason Cardale Jones is the future of athletics. He knows that football is way to get the education his grades cannot give him, and yet the value of his scholarship is not being exploited by the NCAA. It is worth every dollar he earns in the future as a financial planner. Other athletes should look to Cardale’s example because it is the only way to show the NCAA that the athletes are still in charge.

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