DALLAS (Sporting Alert) — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has backed his third-string quarterback Cardale Jones to “play in the NFL,” but hinted that the sophomore might not be ready to make the advanced step up yet.
Jones delivered in a big way when called on, following the injury problems to initial starter Braxton Million and backup J.T. Barrett.
He led the team to victory in the Big Ten championship in his first career start, and ended the season by leading the Buckeyes to the first ever college football playoff national title on Monday night.
No. 4 Ohio State, against all odds, went on to beat No. 2 and title favorites Oregon 42-20 in the championship game on Monday, and Jones played a major part in his team’s emotional victory.
Still, Meyer, who was winning his third national title, hinted that the quarterback could return to Ohio State for another season, rather than going into the NFL draft.
“I’m sure there’s a lot going on,” Meyer said at Tuesday morning’s news conference. “I mean, it’s kind of cool to be sitting here using the word NFL next to Cardale’s name.
“I will tell you this: He could play in the NFL. He certainly has a talent. Is he ready right now?
“That’s a chat I guess we’ll go have at some point, probably not right here in front of everybody. You might enjoy that.”
Meyer also noted that although he had breakfast and a brief talk with Jones on Tuesday, their conversation had nothing to do with the NFL.
“I had breakfast with Cardale,” he said. “We had just a great conversation, but nothing about that.
“…We have not had that conversation yet.”
Meanwhile, Jones, who is being backed by his teammates to return to Ohio State for his junior year, admitted that he was “not ready for that level yet.”
“I mean, it’s very odd,” said Jones, who threw for 242 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 38 yards and score.
“You know, I’m going to be starting three games in three years, and you know, guys play their whole career to have that buildup and have that motivation to play in the NFL.
“In my personal opinion, I’m not ready for that level yet. I mean, like coach [Urban] Meyer said, it’s a conversation me and him will have later down the road. But to me right now, it’s far out.”