Jones, a third-year sophomore, had made zero career starts and thrown for a grand total of 121 yards heading into the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin.
But after injuries to Miller and Barrett forced Jones into action in the biggest game of Ohio State’s season, the sophomore delivered in the biggest way possible, torching the Wisconsin defense and making a heck of an impression on the College Football Playoff committee, which seeded the Buckeyes fourth in the tournament, paving the way for an upset of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff title game against Oregon. Now, Jones is a National Championship looking to keep rolling next season at OSU.
Click here for a photo gallery of Jones in action and read on for more about his background.
1. Jones Had Very Little Experience Before the Big Ten Title Game
Last season, his first with the Buckeyes, Jones threw for a total of 3 yards. Which is to be expected from a third-string freshman. This year, he had thrown for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns heading into Saturday night’s game.
Those 118 yards come with a 58.8 percent completion rate and an adjusted QBR of 52.8.
2. Jones Is an Ohio Native
Jones is from Cleveland and went to Glenville High School.
He’s big for a quarterback, weighing in at 250 and standing a monstrous 6-foot-5.
3. Jones was Suspended for Tweeting That Classes Are a Waste
In October of 2012, Jones posted a tweet saying:
“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.”
While he later deleted the tweet and his entire Twitter account, plenty of people saw — and saved — the message.
The Buckeyes released a statement saying:
“We allow our student-athletes the opportunity to express themselves via the social mediums,” the statement read. “What we do ask of them and communicate to them is the importance of being respectful, appropriate and aware that their communications can impact many people. We remind that others may have different views and opinions on what may and may not be appropriate, so always remember not to post or tweet anything that could embarrass themselves, their team, teammates, the university, their family or other groups, organizations or people.”
Jones was suspended for one game, created a new Twitter account and maintains a 3.0 grade point average.
4. Jones Is Used to Waiting for His Time to Shine
Jones didn’t become the starting quarterback for Glenville until his junior year.
Originally a lineman and defensive end until he got to high school, it was Glenville coach Ten Ginn, Sr., who caused the switch — after telling Jones that was where he belonged since Jones was 8 years-old.
Because of Ginn’s relationship with Jones, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer looked to him to help make Jones realize how important his academics are — and it apparently worked.
5. Jones’ Girlfriend Gave Birth to a Baby Girl in November
Jones’ life as a father began before he became Ohio State’s starting quarterback. On November 7, his girlfriend Jeaney Durand gave birth to their daughter, Chloe.
According to a Sports Illustrated cover story on Jones, the QB made it to the hospital just five minutes before Chloe was born. Durand was in Cleveland when she went into labor, a month before she was supposed to, and Jones was in Columbus.
After finding out what was going on, Jones made the 140-mile trip and arrived just in time.
“Cardale finally got the news around 5:30 a.m. He immediately drove the 140 miles from Columbus, showing up at the hospital less than five minutes before his daughter was born, squeezing Jeaney’s hand while she pushed.”