Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, November 16, 2017


It?s all seemingly right there for Ohio State: Win out, and make the College Football Playoff. But Buckeye offensive tackle Jamarco Jones doesn?t want to talk about that. He is focused on the here and now, with Illinois coming to the Horseshoe this Saturday in a battle for the Illibuck.

Ohio State is 8-2 overall, 6-1 in the Big Ten and in control of its own destiny in the East after whipping Michigan State last week, 48-3. The Buckeyes are No. 9 in the most recent College Football Playoff Ranking, sitting in a good spot as the season hits the stretch drive.

Jones, a 6-5, 310-pound senior from Chicago De La Salle High, is the anchor of the Buckeye line, helping Ohio State rank No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring (44.2 ppg) and No. 1 in total offense (546.5 ypg).

Jones mans a key left tackle slot that has seen the last three full-time starters (Mike Adams, Jack Mewhort and Taylor Decker) drafted into the NFL and a fourth (Alex Boone) who is entering his eighth year in the league. Jones spent two seasons as Decker's back-up before Decker was taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at No. 16 overall by the Detroit Lions.

I caught up with Jones as he prepped for a visit from Illinois in advance of next week?s trip to Michigan.

Q: Who is the toughest Buckeye defender for you to block when the team scrimmages?
A: All four of those guys (defensive ends) bring something different to the table. It?s kinda hard to pick and choose. They are usually rolling in there fresh, and they all are first-round talents. It?s pretty hard to choose between those defensive ends. I?m just glad they are on my team.

Q: If they were going to call a play for an offensive lineman to run the ball, which one would get the call?
A: (Center) Billy (Price). He?s pretty quick and agile. He?s like a little bowling ball in there. That would be pretty funny to see happen.

Q: How have those who came before you at left tackle helped you develop?
A: All the way back to Kirk Barton, Jack Mewhort, Taylor Decker, I have spoken to all of them and they have helped me in my career. They left a great legacy. I have to follow up and they want to make sure I did that. There is a real sense of brotherhood here. They still reach out and they come back to just share advice. It?s nice to have guys come back and help even if they don?t really know you.

Q: Do you get texts from any of those guys?
A: Kirk Barton texts. Jack Mewhort has. I still talk to Taylor.

Q: You are a Chicago guy. So, I have to ask: What?s your go-to pizza place when you go back home?
A: Giordano?s, definitely. I usually just go with pepperoni topping. It?s my favorite. They just opened one in Columbus and I went the other day. I had to try it out. It was pretty good. It may not be the exact same as back home, but it was actually pretty good.

Q: Are you binge-watching anything right now?
A: Nothing during the season. But ?Last Chance U? was one of my favorite shows on Netflix. I tried to keep up with that. It was a crazy show. It shows you the different things other players go through.

Q: Who was your favorite offensive lineman growing up?
A: Orlando Pace set the standard. He was from the Midwest (Sandusky, Ohio), and everyone pretty much knows about him and his pancakes. He set the standard for me.

Q: If you had to pick two teammates to be on a 3-on-3 hoops team with you, who would you select?
A: I would take Malik Harrison and Parris Campbell.

Q: How has new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson helped the offensive line?
A: He is definitely offensive line-friendly. He tries to put us in the best position to be successful as a unit. You want to feel comfortable and you want to feel someone has your best interest. He is trying to win, but he is also trying to put us in the best position to succeed, which also helps us win.

Q: Who is the one teammate you?d take with you to a brawl?
A: Tuf Borland. His name is Tuf, and he?s from Illinois. And he?s a pretty solid dude, too.