Cardale Jones will forever be linked to one of the more infamous quotes, or tweets, in the history of college sports.
Before he ever started a game at Ohio State, he was just a freshman who didn’t want to go to class.
— Cardale Jones (@Cardale7_) May 4, 2017
That was what Jones tweeted leading up to Sunday, which was a day he’ll never forget. It wasn’t the day that he won a national title or the day he got drafted.
Instead, it was the day that Jones graduated from Ohio State.
His graduation cap said it all:
— Cardale Jones (@Cardale7_) May 7, 2017
The former Buckeye quarterback had a roller coaster college career. It was unconventional. Frankly, it wouldn’t have been easy for anyone to stay academically motivated, much less the guy who admittedly didn’t want to do anything but play football.
After his third year at Ohio State, Jones easily could’ve left school for the NFL. There were people talking about him as a potential first-round prospect.
But immediately after that title game, do you remember the reason that Jones cited for coming back?
“It’s everybody’s dream when they play a collegiate sport to make it to the next level,” Jones said in a very short press event after the national championship. “At my point in my career, I feel like it’s best for me to go back to school and one of the most important things for me is to graduate.”
Sure, his junior season didn’t go as he hoped. But Jones still knew that he was heading for the NFL after that junior season. He could’ve easily checked out and decided that school was no longer a priority when he began training for the draft.
Jones did something that early draft departures rarely do. That is, he got his degree shortly after his first season in the NFL. Had he stayed for all five years at Ohio State, he would’ve likely been on the same path.
To say that Jones matured since that immature freshman tweet would be an understatement. Shoot, he had matured by the time he held that post-national championship press conference.
Sunday was just the culmination of that.
And how fitting it was that he capped it off the way that he did.