Ohio State football offensive lineman Matt Jones to return for final season of eligibility
Matt Jones is returning to Ohio State for his final season of eligibility, bolstering the interior of the Buckeyes’ offensive line.
“Although I have dreams and aspirations to play in the NFL, my college chapter does not close here,” he wrote in a graphic shared on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Jones, who started this past season at right guard, also has the capability of lining up at center and was the nation's top-ranked prospect at the position when he signed with the Buckeyes out of Brooklyn in 2018. That versatility could be relied upon after Luke Wypler, who anchored the offensive line for two seasons, declared for the NFL draft a day earlier.
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Prior to starting in his fifth season with the Buckeyes, Jones had been a reserve, filling in amid injuries and making a handful of spot starts in 2021 and 2020.
In his first full season as a starter, Jones dealt with a lingering foot injury, but missed only one game, sidelined for a loss to Michigan at the end of the regular season after aggravating his right foot the previous week at Maryland.
He was at his healthiest when Ohio State met Georgia in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl at New Year's Eve and helped to neutralize Jalen Carter, the Bulldogs' dominant defensive tackle, in the narrow loss. Carter, who is seen as a potential top pick in the draft this spring, made only one tackle and was unable to sack quarterback C.J. Stroud.
According to Pro Football Focus, Jones allowed only only sack all season. He finished as a second-team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media.
By returning to school, Jones is using his additional season of eligibility granted to all players by the NCAA as a result of the coronavirus pandemic shortened season in 2020. He has been with the program for five seasons.
Jones and left guard Donovan Jackson are set to be the only returning starters along the offensive line with All-American tackles Paris Johnson and Dawand Jones entering the draft along with Wypler. Both Johnson and Wypler are early entrants as underclassmen, while Jones was a senior this past fall.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.