Cardale Jones Comments on Intention to Enter 2016 NFL Draft

Joseph ZuckerFeatured Columnist

Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones (12) warms up before an NCAA football game against Illinois Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.  (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)
BRADLEY LEEB/Associated Press

Cardale Jones already tweeted his intention to leave Ohio State at the end of the 2015 season. On Wednesday, the Buckeyes quarterback once again said he will move on to the NFL rather than transfer to another school, per Dave Briggs of the Toledo Blade, writing: "My loyalty and my heart is to Ohio State."  

Jones had the choice to graduate from Ohio State and transfer to another school without having to sit out a season. The strategy is becoming increasingly popular among the college football elite, with Vernon Adams Jr. and Everett Golson among this past year's notable graduate transfers.

However, Jones admitted that was never an option, per's Austin Ward:

However, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reported the situation surrounding Jones is "fluid." Cole reported Jones "might go pro. Might graduate and then transfer to play one more year in college, improve stock."

Cole also said that Jones made his comments because he's "appeasing people at Ohio State."

If anything, Jones might regret not going to the NFL sooner. Around this time last year, he was leading Ohio State to a national championship. In the Buckeyes' final three games, he threw for 742 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.

Jones wouldn't have been a lock for the first round in the 2015 NFL draft, but his stock was undoubtedly higher than it is now after he lost the OSU starting QB job to J.T. Barrett. His numbers—62.3 percent completion rate, 1,459 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions—also left a lot to be desired.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller didn't even list Jones among his top 10 quarterbacks for the 2016 draft in his most recent rankings and labeled the redshirt junior his "Biggest Faller." Miller does, however, consider Jones to have the most potential of any quarterback in the class.

Jones will have more time to rebuild his draft stock at Ohio State's pro day and the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, which begins Feb. 23. He'll have a hard time unseating Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff as the highest-rated quarterback prospect, but he might do enough to warrant an early Day 2 selection.

If Jones is thinking about a potential return to the college game, it would give him a chance to get back to the heights he reached under center in the 2015 College Football Playoff.