Buckeyes Have Plan Behind Taking Two QB’s
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was supposed to be a one-quarterback class for Ohio State in 2011; at least that’s the way they sold it to Braxton Miller.
The Huber Heights Wayne star committed to the Buckeyes back in June, in large part because of their commitment to him as the lone quarterback in the class.
Miller figures to be the immediate future under center following Terrelle Pryor’s senior season, and perhaps even earlier considering the looming suspension for Pryor and his four teammates to start 2011.
Yet Jim Tressel and his staff signed not one, but two quarterbacks Wednesday after Cardale Jones became a last-minute addition to the class. The 6-foot-5 product of Cleveland Glenville had landed a late offer from the Buckeyes, who felt he was just too good to pass up.
“We're very fortunate here at Ohio State to be able to take two quarterbacks this year,” quarterbacks coach Nic Siciliano said during OSU’s National Signing Day news conference.
“We thought that these were the two best quarterbacks in the country, it just happened that both of them were from our state, so we felt like we had to go out and get both of them.”
Siciliano admitted that it was not the plan from the start for Ohio State to take two quarterbacks in the 2011 class. They began to formulate a new plan towards the end of the process; one that would allow both players to become Buckeyes without throwing off the balance.
“Most importantly we wanted to create some separation between him and the other guys that are here and Braxton,” Siciliano said.
“So just to give us a little more length in our recruiting process.”
There are already four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for 2011, and with Braxton Miller enrolled for the current winter quarter, there was no need to add another player to the log-job. That’s why the Buckeyes are going to delay the start of the clock on Jones by pushing back his enrollment until next January.
“We just had talked to Cardale a little bit about how we wanted him to be a Buckeye,” Siciliano said of their plan to gray shirt the young quarterback.
With both Pryor and Joe Bauserman graduating after the 2011 season, the Buckeyes were probably going to have to add another quarterback next year. They will still have Kenny Guiton and Taylor Graham, assuming neither of them transfers, but they’re both ahead of Miller.
Miller has not thrown a single pass for the Buckeyes yet, but that hasn’t stopped them from thinking beyond his time in Columbus. They could have very well waited until the 2012 class to start looking at quarterbacks, but the staff felt Jones was simply better than any of the options on the immediate horizon.
“I don’t think we felt like we had to get two quarterbacks. I think there was another quarterback there that was too good to pass up,” Offensive Coordinator Jim Bollman said.
“I don’t think it was important to get two quarterbacks in this class. I think it was getting another football player.”
Bollman said that Jones will attend a Junior College this year before enrolling at Ohio State a year from now. In their mind, they no longer view him as a part of the 2011 class, but rather the quarterback in the 2012 class.
While Miller is certainly the more polished quarterback—not to mention more dynamic—Jones brings a different feel to the offense when he’s under center.
“Cardale is a bigger guy. A very strong arm. An athletic kid. He plays the game hard, he plays the game fast,” Siciliano said.
“He's a little bigger and a little stronger than we've had from a run game standpoint.”
If Miller can pick up the system and earn some playing time as a true freshman in 2011, it could potentially put two years of separation between the two quarterbacks, assuming Jones redshirts his first year on campus.
That would set the Buckeyes up to win a lot of games over the next six seasons.
“The thing about both of these kids is they won a lot of football games for their high school teams,” Siciliano said of the two quarterbacks, who each led his respective team to the Ohio Division I state championship game.
“One of the ways we judge quarterbacks on the recruiting end is that we need to make sure they can be a leader and win some football games for their football team. Because when you have a great quarterback, you have a great chance of winning a lot of football games.”
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