As many of you may know, top OT Jamarco Jones is set to make his college decision tomorrow, June 27th, at 1pm per his Twitter account.
“Everybody come up to De La Salle this Thursday at 1pm! I will be making my college decision between Michigan Michigan State and Ohio State.”
Jamarco is a consensus 4-star tackle prospect from Chicago (De La Salle), who has listed a final top three of Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State in no particular order. The 247Sports Composite has him as the 50th best player, and 4th OT in the nation for the 2014 class. The rising senior has 28 FBS offers according to 247Sports, but this will be another Big Ten battle.
So where will he end up? Jamarco has played his card close to the chest throughout this entire process, and never claimed a favorite contradicting speculation that he is an OSU lock. It appears as if the recruiting gurus see him as an OSU “lock” as well, or at least that’s what the Crystal Ball indicates…
Since Jamarco has been rather quiet regarding his recruitment, let’s speculate on the reasons that would draw him to each school. Each program offers a different set of attractive factors, although distance should be one area that all three schools are similar.
From a fan’s point of view, I could discuss the upsides of Michigan for days. From a reporter’s standpoint, I’ll do my best to avoid the bias. Michigan has a program has done a great job of sending offensive lineman into the NFL. The list is long, but recent big names include LT Jake Long and C David Molk. Taylor Lewan looks to be the next in line, but Jamarco won’t have a chance to learn from the RS Senior has he will be off campus before Jamarco arrives. Under Brady Hoke’s control, Michigan appears to be a team on the rise after locking down back-to-back top 10 recruiting classes nationally. They should be able to contend for Big Ten Championships on a regular basis soon, and should be a school that could make occasional runs at a NC.
Given how Michigan has recruited the offensive line, Jamarco would be able to play on an offensive line that would only improve his development, as long as star ratings are any indication of talent (though there will always be exceptions). It is this facet, however, that could turn Jamarco away from Ann Arbor. No matter what position he projects to in college (RT or LT, although a little more length would be ideal for the blindside), he will be competing with players of a similar pedigree. Also keep in mind that he was a life-long buckeye fan, so playing for their most hated rival could be in the back of his mind.
MGoBlog clears the air on the depth chart issue quoting Jamarco as saying “Depth doesn’t matter too much, ’cause wherever I go I’m going to compete for a spot regardless. Coaches talk about that a lot but I don’t pay too much attention to that. Nothing is guaranteed.”
On the same article, he talks about what he likes about Michigan: “What stood out was how genuine the coaches are and how much they care about you as a person.”
With Michigan State, Jamarco faces a whole set of perks. He would come in as the feature player of the class, where he wouldn’t get the same kind of spotlight at Michigan or OSU. Don’t get me wrong though, Mark Dantonio has been quietly building impressive classes over in East Lansing. In 2012, MSU secured the composite 34th best class nationally and 4th best in the Big Ten. 2013 wasn’t much off with the 36th top class nationally and 5th in the Big Ten. Don’t be fooled by star ratings, Dantonio has been getting the guys he wants, and they will be able to compete year in and year out.
The two deep at Michigan State would look much better for the top-50 prospect, and early playing time would look equally as nice. As a university, they do not boast the same type of track record of getting lineman into the NFL (ESPN currently lists two active linemen in C Kyle Cook and OL Chris McDonald), but they did get three players drafted into the NFL this year as opposed to Michigan’s two. With a capable staff and an offensive line that is not as star-studded as other schools, Jamarco would have the opportunity to really be a standout in the green and white.
While MSU has its own appeal, they too are not a flawless fit. They won’t be a pushover in the conference, but playing in the same division as Michigan and OSU (East) will make it much harder to get a trip to Indy over their higher level-recruiting counterparts. I expect them to maintain their winning seasons, but would be surprised to see them as a threat nationally.
MGoBlog had some coverage on Jamarco’s take on his views of MSU: “I really felt like I was part of their family and team already. It was fun just seeing all the players I could potentially be playing with next year and how we all are similar and have the same goals.”
It’s tough to say, but the Buckeyes present another desirable place for Jamarco. In my opinion, on paper, they could be the best location for the young tackle. With Ohio State, you get the team potential of a school like Michigan, but a depth chart that will closer resemble MSU when all of these players hit campus. In the last two full classes, they have signed 4 4-stars and 3 3-stars (2 more 4-stars for the 2014 class). In contrast, Michigan has signed 7 4-stars and 3-3 stars in the past two years (2 more 4-stars on board for 2014). While the numbers don’t look staggering, Michigan took 6 lineman in 2013 while Ohio State only took 2, so the picture in Columbus in this regard looks better for Jamarco.
Ohio State presents a nice outlook for the depth chart, and will also be a national factor on the gridiron. They too have locked up top-ten classes the past two years, which each class slightly topping Michigan’s. Another thing I hate to admit, but Urban Meyer is one hell of a coach, and his track record speaks for itself. I admittedly don’t follow Ohio State’s players in the draft, but they currently have 10 offensive linemen (non special teams) in the NFL, and I’m sure Jamarco has taken note. As noted before, Ohio State is the noted childhood favorite, so that’s an extra indicator towards OSU, although it is far from the biggest factor.
Eleven Warriors spoke with Jamarco after the Core 6 Athletes Showcase and he had this to say about the Buckeyes: “I got to build on the relationships I have made with their coaching staff even more. It is a school I like a lot so I want to know as much as I can about it. This time I got to hang out with the players more and get a feel for what it would be like to be teammates with them all. We hung out in their dorms and everything and just had a great time getting to know one another. “
All three schools that made the final cut have much to offer, and in my opinion, have a very real shot at landing the Chicago native. In less that 24 hours, the months of speculation will end, and I will be able to clear my head of one more recruiting related issues. For Michigan, there doesn’t seem to be many options behind Jamarco, and recruiting analysts believe that Michigan could end the class with the players they have if they miss on Jamarco. Personally, I have a hard time believing the coaches would settle for two, but ideally this speculation will be unnecessary. While I wish I could say otherwise, it seems that Jamarco is headed to Columbus. There have been bigger surprises in the world of recruiting thought, and Michigan is very much in this battle. Behind OSU I’m really not sure who I would put next. As far as any one knows, he could realistically end up at any three. Stay tuned to @BBlueRecruiting around 1pm for the results, as we will do our best to get the information out as soon as we find out.
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