Jones, others say they’ll be back at OSU in 2015

Quarterback Cardale Jones told reporters Tuesday he 'will definitely be back' at Ohio State next season.

Matthew Emmons/Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A formal media availability ahead of the Jan. 12 national championship game at Ohio State Tuesday brought questions about next year.

Those questions brought unanimous answers from Ohio State’s top NFL-eligible underclassmen, all of whom said they plan to return. Offensive lineman Taylor Decker said he sought evaluations through the NFL’s underclass advisory committee, and though Decker said the feedback was positive he said he’ll be back for his senior season.

Defensive lineman Adolphus Washington said he expects to be back, too.

"I’ve really given no thought to (the NFL)," Washington said. "I’m just focusing on this (national championship) game."

The NFL’s deadline for early entries for this year’s draft is Jan. 15. The draft begins April 30.

Quarterback Cardale Jones told reporters Tuesday he "will definitely be back" at Ohio State next season, though the questions presented to Jones were more about Ohio State’s crowded quarterback room than the NFL specifically. A shoulder injury in August knocked two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Braxton Miller out for the season, and redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett was good enough in replacing Miller that he finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting and set the Big Ten single-season record for total touchdowns.

Barrett was hurt in the Nov. 29 regular-season finale, and Jones has beaten Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in his first two starts. A redshirt sophomore on track to graduate in 2015 or early 2016, Jones has two years of eligibility remaining.

As for whether his third career start or the status of the other two quarterbacks on the roster changes his plans, time will tell. At 6’5, 250, Jones would probably be the most coveted pro prospect of Ohio State’s quarterbacks with more seasoning. Jones would need an NCAA waiver to play at a different FBS program in 2015; he’d be immediately eligible at the FCS level.

Miller has another year of eligibility because he was hurt before playing his fourth season. He graduated in December, making him eligible to transfer and play immediately for another program if he chooses that route over the NFL or returning to Ohio State.

Miller’s father told the Columbus Dispatch last month that his son plans to return to Ohio State, and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said before the Sugar Bowl that he’s talked with Miller and expects him to return to the Buckeyes.

A potential transfer by Miller wouldn’t come until after the spring semester, which begins the day of the Ohio State-Oregon game. If Miller wants to go the NFL route, he’ll have to apply by the Jan. 15 deadline or apply for eligibility in the July supplemental draft.