Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is fourth-year junior Matthew Jones. Yesterday it was defensive tackle Mike Hall. You can find all of the daily Scoop Profiles right here.
No. 55 | Offensive Guard/Center | 6-4 316 | Fourth-Year Junior | Erasmus Hall High School | Brooklyn, New York
How’d He Get Here
Matthew Jones played at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York, which is the same high school that produced former Buckeye Curtis Samuel, as well as chess champion Bobby Fischer, the doctor from The Love Boat, and lovable Happy Days goofball Ralph Malph (ask your parents). Jones was the nation’s top two-way lineman. When he committed to Ohio State on June 17, 2017 (which was first reported by Alex Gleitman), he was ranked as the No. 4 defensive tackle in the nation and the No. 46 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class. Once it was clear he was going to play on the offensive line at Ohio State, he was quickly ranked the No. 4 center in the nation. He finished as the No. 1 center in the class and the No. 68 player overall.
Matthew Jones redshirted as a true freshman after enrolling early. He then played 119 snaps as a redshirt freshman in a limited role mostly behind Jonah Jackson at guard. Jones’ season started slowly last year as well, seeing just 10 snaps on offense over the first four games. COVID eventually wreaked havoc with the Buckeyes, forcing Jones into action down the stretch. He started against Michigan State, Clemson, and Alabama and was pretty solid throughout. This year he opened up spring ball as the Buckeyes’ No. 1 center. By the end of camp, however, it appeared that redshirt freshman Luke Wypler may have passed him. Regardless, Jones is still going to be very much involved in offensive line coach Greg Studrawa’s process of finding his five best offensive linemen. That could eventually mean Jones at guard or center.
What to Like
The Buckeyes have to replace Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers at right guard and center, and if one of those spots is filled by Matthew Jones, he won’t come into the situation inexperienced. He started three games last year and has now been through three spring camps and four fall camps. Even if he’s technically a new starter, there is nothing new about him. Now, if he wins the center job, then there would certainly be some newness there. But if he does win the starting center spot, it’s not like he’ll be competing against a bunch of scrubs for the job. That position will be earned and Jones is good enough to earn it. He’s also good enough to play guard, which he showed a number of times in 2020. He’s one of the most physical linemen on the team and has the demeanor to match.
What’s the Ceiling This Year?
Whether it’s at guard or center, if Matthew Jones puts it all together this year, you’re looking at an All-Big Ten mauler. And even if he doesn’t win the job, you’re still probably looking at the best reserve lineman in the conference. His ceiling may be determined by the position he plays, which will also be impacted by what redshirt freshman Luke Wypler and junior Harry Miller do in preseason camp.
If Matthew Jones can reach his ceiling this year and then get two full years of starting under his belt, he’ll head to the NFL with a considerable amount of experience and technique. If he wins a job this year, he’ll head into 2022 with some preseason expectations. He’ll be a known name next year which is usually a prerequisite for offensive linemen if they want to receive any kind of postseason accolades. The Ohio State offensive tackles are likely going to be going through some changes between this year and next. Jones could provide some calm to Greg Studrawa and the Buckeye offensive line.