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Ohio State Preparing For National Championship With 3rd-String QB

Ohio State plays Oregon for the college football national championship tonight. OSU’s surprising run to the title game is even more stunning because of its quarterback. Cardale Jones began the year as the team’s 3rd-string quarterback. It's safe to say OSU head coach Urban Meyer did not have a high opinion of Jones when Meyer took over. Meyer did not recruit Jones. Meyer was unhappy with his academic performance. Jones needed to turn things around in a big way, just to stay on the team.

Jones was the third-string quarterback heading into the season. He was behind 2-time Big ten offensive player of the year, Braxton Miller. Behind Braxton Miller was a freshman, JT Barrett. Then, after Barrett, was Cardale Jones.

 So who is Cardale Jones? 

“He could have been a statistic," Meyer said of his quarterback.

Meaning that he could have been just another Buckeye to come through Columbus, and not make an impact.

Meyer didn’t want him on the team. Meyer said all along that he had to improve to earn his spot on the 85-man roster. Meyer said that he had an incredible group of mentors along the way that have pushed him to where he needs to be as a football player and as a man.

"There could’ve been a big asterisk next to his name," Meyer said during a press conference. "Whatever happened to so and so, because he was given the wrong information, the wrong guidance. instead they looked and said what do we need to do coach, and i said this is it, or it’s over, and they said it’s done."

But Meyer noticed an improvement in Cardale Jones early in 2014. During spring practice, Meyer praised him for improving academically, but he still ended up 3rd on the QB depth chart.

“Cardale, you talk about a changed guy," Meyer said in March of 2014. "He was a guy who couldn’t get out of his own way a couple years ago, and now he’s making progress in the classroom … you remember the famous tweet or whatever. It’s a different guy. He had to be a different guy or he wouldn’t be here.”

The tweet

That famous tweet Meyer was referring to? In October of 2012, Jones tweeted this:

“Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play football? We ain’t come to play school. Classes are pointless.”

Cardale was asked if this tweet was a lowpoint, or a turning point in his career at Ohio State.

“And yeah, that was probably the lowest point of my career," Jones said. "And yeah he was like ‘dude, that was the dumbest thing I have ever seen.”

Cardale went from the dumbest thing Urban Meyer had ever seen to a Sugar Bowl winning quarterback.

Background

Cardale Jones is from Cleveland, Ohio, and went to Glenville High School… The same school that has produced several Buckeye greats, such as Donte Whitner, Ted Ginn Jr, and heisman trophy winner Troy Smith.

But now Cardale is trying to do something none of those 3 greats have ever done.

Win a National Championship. And it’s not going to come easy.

Next step

He’s got a Big Ten Championship win under his belt, the most convincing conference championship win in college football history, He’s got a sugar Bowl win under his belt, against arguably the best defense college football has seen.  Cardale Jones, SAYS  he’s ready for the next step.

“It’s exciting, because like you said we’re chasing the ultimate goal, that’s always been our goal since about midseason, we knew we could do something special. So it’s very exciting, it’s emotional, not just for me, but for my teammates as well.”

He’s not the quarterback they wanted, he’s the quarterback out of necessity. But he’s turned into the quarterback that might be able to deliver Ohio State a National Championship.