Right tackle Dawand Jones announces return to Ohio State football for senior season

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State right tackle Dawand Jones announced Monday night that will be back with the Buckeyes next season, putting off entering the upcoming NFL draft.

Revealing his future plans in a simple tweet, he wrote, "Breaking News: Dawand Jones will be returning for his senior year at Ohio State."

His decision was finalized on the last day underclassmen were eligible to file paperwork to enter this year's draft.

Following left tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere's earlier declaration, Jones will be Ohio State's only returning offensive lineman with starting experience at tackle.

The Buckeyes are, though, bringing back a majority of their starting offensive linemen from 2021 with Jones joined by right guard Paris Johnson and center Luke Wypler. Johnson is likely to move out to left tackle.

Jones made his debut as a starter this past fall. His development in the offseason prompted the Buckeyes’ staff to reconfigure their line to make an opening for the junior, moving Petit-Frere from right tackle to left tackle and Thayer Munford from left tackle to left guard.

Sat., Jan. 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Dawand Jones (79) celebrates during the fourth quarter of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl.

Ahead of the final game against Utah in the Rose Bowl, Jones said he was about “50/50” on whether to remain in school or forgo his remaining eligibility to turn pro.

Upon stepping into a larger role, Jones had broken out and ultimately received All-Big Ten recognition, being named to the second team by media members and third team by the league’s coaches.

Listed at 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds, his imposing size made him a natural fit for pass protection and opening up outside lanes for star freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jones gave up only 11 quarterbacks pressures over 791 snaps, the second-fewest among Ohio State's starting offensive linemen.

But at times, his youth showed. Three of the Buckeyes’ five false-start penalties in a crushing loss at Michigan were committed by Jones.

Another season of starting experience is expected to help bolster Jones’ draft stock.

Despite his natural size as an offensive tackle, he only recently began focusing on the sport.

While coming up at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Jones held aspirations of playing basketball in college, the sport that was his first love, and he didn’t go out for football as a sophomore before returning to it as a junior and senior.

The Buckeyes and a handful of other top Big Ten programs took notice of his potential with football, but he needed development.

In 2022, that growth can continue.

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Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at jkaufman@dispatch.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.