Dre'Mont Jones wasn't expecting to be a starter for Ohio State this season. After all, he was a defensive end at Cleveland St. Ignatius who redshirted last year while rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament sustained as a high school senior. Jones figured to be a backup to Tracy Sprinkle at the three-technique defensive tackle spot this season. Then Sprinkle was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon in the season opener against Bowling Green.

Dre'Mont Jones wasn't expecting to be a starter for Ohio State this season.

After all, he was a defensive end at Cleveland St. Ignatius who redshirted last year while rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament he suffered as a high school senior.

Jones figured to be a backup to Tracy Sprinkle at the three-technique defensive tackle spot this season. Then Sprinkle was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon in the season opener against Bowling Green.

>> Video | Dre'Mont Jones on his season

Jones has started every game since, though he shares time with the impressive Robert Landers.

"It's been a hard transition, especially because I look up to Tracy," Jones said on Wednesday. "But Tyquan (Lewis) and Sam Hubbard and Jalyn (Holmes) have stepped up and helped me."

Jones acknowledged that he struggled this spring, coming back from injury and playing a new position.

"In the spring, it was all new to me," he said. "There were times at practice when I got blown 10 yards off the ball. I'm starting to learn, getting stronger, getting smarter."

The three-technique is a key position for the Buckeyes because that player is expected to provide an inside pass rush as well as hold up against the run. Adolphus Washington and Michael Bennett were standouts at that position the last two years. Jones said he has been studying tape of Washington.

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He's also adjusting to having a transformed body. Jones lost 30 pounds in Mickey Marotti's strength and conditioning program after arriving at Ohio State. When he was moved to defensive tackle, he put 20 pounds back on.

Jones has been credited with 15 tackles this season. Landers has made more of a splash with his seven tackles for loss, but Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer raved about Jones on his radio call-in show today.

"He's so talented," he said. "He's one of the more talented guys on the team. What a great future he has."

Barrett a Unitas finalist

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has been named one of 15 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award given to college football's top quarterback.

A junior, Barrett has thrown for 15 touchdowns this season and 981 yards this season and is Ohio State's all-time leader with 60 in his career. He has also run for 342 yards and four touchdowns.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

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