Ohio State linebacker, Keandre Jones, embraces the grind of starting over

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Ohio State linebacker, Keandre Jones, embraces the grind of starting over

To play college football is one part of the ultimate dream for most ballplayers. 

We all know the stories of kids having glorious high school careers that go on to play college ball and eventually making it to the NFL. 

What about those stories in between the glory? Where the high school star has to start from scratch and fight for his spot on the team.

Keandre Jones was an Under Armour All-American and one of the best players in the state of Maryland, apart of the class of 2016. He was a hot commodity before he announced that he would play his college ball at the Ohio State University (which brought along some controversy).

Now Jones is a sophomore in college, battling to be the Buckeye′s starting Will linebacker on the depth chart. Cleveland.com considers Jones to be the 49th best player on the Buckeye′s roster but the media attention he once received on a daily has changed. During his senior year at Good Counsel, there was daily news on Jones, especially on his recruiting trail. 

″I′m not big on the social media,″ Jones said about being ranked and media attention. ″I just try to stay in my own lane, put my head down and work. At the end of the day, I′m here to get a good education and hopefully have a future in the NFL. It′s definitely cool to be recognized as one of the best players at Ohio State.″ 

Most players in Jones situation are rarely talked about; the young guy looking to dethrone the experienced upperclassman, who in this case is junior Jerome Baker. Baker received his starting job last year after Dante Booker went down with an injury. Baker took advantage of that opportunity and finished the season as an honorable mention All-Big Ten. Jones is looking to find the same opportunity anywhere he can, even if it is on special teams, he just wants to get on the field. 

″This is year two for me so I′m looking to start and play a lot more this season,″ 

While he is competing with the older guys, Jones still credits them for helping his transition during his freshman season. The older guys helped Keandre believe that he is a player that can dominate on the college level, similar to how he was at Good Counsel, his former high school. For most freshman, the transition might be tough coming from being a prep-star to having to work their way up the depth charts. Jones took the challenge head on and understood what he had to do in order to be successful early on, which included eating right, taking care of his body, and excelling in film study. 

My goal is to dominate camp and earn a starting spot

Playing for a guy like Urban Meyer can intimidating for most. His resume as a college coach can be considered second to none. Most outside of the program would look at him as a legend but Jones see′s him as a regular guy with a great heart. 

″When he was recruiting me, he gave me the nickname Special K, and I started calling him Bossman, and it stuck with him,″ Jones said about his experience with Coach Meyers. ″I call him Bossman because he expects the best from his staff and his players and that′s what a boss does. It brings the best out of me because I don′t want to let him down.″ 

The upperclassmen on the team gave Jones the rundown about Meyers so he wouldn′t be shocked when he stepped on campus. They let him know he will be tested throughout his time at Ohio State and like everything else he embraced it. 

Another thing he embraced with no hesitation was playing in front of 100,000 people inside of the legendary Horseshoe. 

″I like the lights, the cameras, and the big crowds,″ he said about Ohio Stadium. ″It′s a lot of energy. You can feel their energy and it just makes you want to play harder and not disappoint. Go out there and make a play in front of the cameras.″ 

Jones understands the grind of starting from the bottom again. He let go of his success from the high school level and accepted what he has to do to make it back to a starting spot. According to Scholarship Stats, only 1.6% of high school football players receive a scholarship to play division 1 college football and only 2% of high school athletes receive some form of scholarship funding. So he has already conquered the hardest battle.  

″Everybody is a four or five star on this level,″ he said. ″Once you get here, all those stars go away and you have to earn back what you gained on the high school level. You have to start from the bottom again coming in as a freshman.″ 

Jones wants future recruits to know that once they reached the level of big time college football, it becomes a job. He suggests young players should enjoy high school ball and the experiences that they will encounter because it is more serious on the college level. Listening to Jones speak, I can tell he is still enjoying the grind of college football. It was refreshing to know that he gets it, that he is rebuilding his name and legacy on a new level and doesn't expect anything to be handed to him. With training camp starting in five days, Jones has his mind set on dominating, both on and off the field. Stay tuned! 

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James Madison scores 80 points against Morehead State

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James Madison scores 80 points against Morehead State

(James Sneed/Fan-I Sports)

(James Sneed/Fan-I Sports)

The JMU Dukes kept the Morehead Eagles in a fetal position early into the night, putting up 28-unanswered points in the first quarter alone, with lots of anticipation surrounding Harrisonburg, VA for Dukes Football to return, they certainly gave the fans a lot to look forward to this season after burying the Eagles with an 80-7 win. 

Leading his Dukes in the rushing attack, Junior quarterback Bryan Schor rushed for 129 yards on 10 carries; including a 63-yard dash to the red zone, topping that off with a 4 yard rushing touchdown. Although he only completed 8 passes for 109yds, who needs to pass when your ground game breaks a school record with 10 rushing touchdowns. 

(James Sneed/Fan-I Sports) 

(James Sneed/Fan-I Sports) 

Sophomore RB Trai Sharp ended the night with 110 yards averaging 7.3 per touch and junior RB Cardon Johnson rushes for 104 yards on 19 carries. With Saturday’s win the Dukes move up 2 spots to number 10 in the FCS rankings.

Morehead will have a lot to work on and even more to learn from after Saturday’s game but under the direction of head coach Rob Tenyer and Senior QB Austin Gahafer -  who has already proven to be a stand out athlete for the Eagles, after achieving the 2015 PFL Offensive Player of the Year honors - there’s little doubt in my mind that they’ll have plenty of bounce back success in the Pioneer Football League. 

(James Sneed/Fan-i Sports)

(James Sneed/Fan-i Sports)

However, if Gahafer plans to match his successes he can’t let this game affect him mentally and regather his troops as they look to face another Virginia opponent in the Morehead’s home opener against the VMI Keydets.

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The Weekend: Texas beats OU; Michgan, Florida, and Utah remain hot; Power 5 rankings

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The Weekend: Texas beats OU; Michgan, Florida, and Utah remain hot; Power 5 rankings

Two weeks away from the first set of College Football playoff rankings and I already know it will be very interesting. ESPN analyst, Kevin Carter, said that Utah was the best team in the country. Other analyst left out the Buckeyes from the their own playoff rankings, even though they are still undefeated and the defending champs (remember I said they would get the Florida State treatment). The thing that bothers me about these rankings by media personalities is that they have little consistency. In week one, after the Wolverines lost to Utah, 70% of the media were claiming that this would be a long season for Harbaugh and they're not ready to make that jump back into the National scene; as of today, majority are claiming Michigan to be the best team in the Big Ten. And they'll never divulgate that they were wrong, not a chance. They'll just continue to make bold claims as if they predicted this to happen.

Fan-i 15

  1. Ohio State (6-0) LW 1, W 49-28 Maryland

  2. TCU (6-0) LW 2, W 52-45 @ Kansas State

  3. Baylor (6-0) LW 3, W 66-7 @ Kansas

  4. Michigan State (6-0) LW 4, W 31-24 @ Rutgers

  5. LSU (5-0) LW5, W 45-24 South Carolina

  6. Utah (6-0) LW 6, W 30-24 @ California

  7. Florida State (5-0) LW7, W 29-24 Miami

  8. Clemson (5-0) LW 8, W 43-24 Georgia Tecj

  9. Alabama (5-1) LW 9, W 27-14 Arkansas

  10. Michigan (5-1) LW 15, W 38-0 #11 Northwestern

  11. Florida (6-0) LW 12, W 21-3 @ Missouri

  12. Texas A&M (5-0) LW 13, BYE

  13. Notre Dame (5-1) LW 14, 41-24 Navy

  14. Iowas (6-0) LW NR, W 29-0 Illinois

  15. Oklahoma State (6-0) LW NR, 33-26 @ West Virginia

  • Baylor jumped TCU in the AP rankings but not in the Fan-I 15. Baylor is getting more love because they are beating unranked teams by a large margin and apparently TCU isn't. Just a week a go, the Horned Frogs defeated the Texas 50-7, the same Longhorns that defeated 10th ranked Sooners. Baylor is definitley a great team but they have yet to play anyone worth considering. They won't play anyone until November 5th when they take a trip to Manhattan Kansas.

  • Oklahoma State and Iowa enter our top 15. Both are at a surprising 6-0 but neither have a win against a top ten opponent. Ok-State has a tougher road than the Hawkeyes, with Baylor and TCU still on the schedule; on the otherhand, Iowa won't face another ranked opponent for the rest of the season.

  • Florida and Michigan continue their hotstreak. Both have appeared in some early playoff rankings for good reason. Florida has four SEC wins and Michigan posted their third straight shutout. Big games are on the horizon, Michigan takes on Michigan State and Florida travels to LSU.

Player of the Weekend

Michigan Defense – This is the first time we have selected 11 players as the POTW. Michgan's defense has been lights out, not allowing a touchdown since the fourth quarter of their game against UNLV on September 19th. Currently they are only allowing 6 points a game and less than 200 total yards, second behind Boston College in total defense.

Honorable mention:

  • Trevone Boykin, QB TCU – 425 total yards, 4 TDS vs Kansas State
  • Dalvin Cook, RB FSU – 22 carries 222 yards 2 Tds, receiving touchdown.

This was probably the best moment of the weekend. You don't expect to hear or see this much maturity from a young man but Fournette is proving that he is not your typical jock that plays in the SEC. And for those that are wondering, the NCAA did approve him auctioning off his jersey. 

Power 5 rankings

  1. Big 12

  2. Big Ten

  3. SEC

  4. ACC

  5. PAC 12

Not much movement in the rankings which means no movement in the Power 5 rankings. Check back next week after some big games are played.

We hope Sarkisian can not only make his back on to the sidelines but also get healthy. You never want to see a coach or player struggle with drug use. Hopefully this leave of absence will help the head coach get through his struggles. 

You never want to see a man get fired, but since will still recieve $4.7 million from the Terps, it's ok to be happy that he will no longer be in charge of the football program. Natives here in Maryland are very eager to burst back on to the national scene, and I never thought Edsall was that guy. He walked into a sticky situation, replacing a well liked coach in Ralph Friedgen, who was fired after winning ACC Coach of the Year for the second time, so fans were already upset. Edsall could never dig out of that hole and their hearts. The numbers speak voulumes; 22-33 record, 0-12 vs AP ranked opponents, 0-2 in Bowl Games, and he never eclipsed 10 wins in a season. 

Games to watch next week

  • #14 Iowa @ Northwestern – Northwestern just suffered their first loss to the Wolverines, which is why they fell out of the Fan-I 15. This will be a tough game for the Hawkeyes but I predict them to win by two possessions.
  • #8 Alabama @ #12 Texas A&M – The Aggies are quietly ranked in the AP top ten. I think they are benefiting from being in the SEC because I haven't seen much from them to make me believe they are top ten. Bama shouldn't lose this one.
  • #4 Michigan State @ #10 Michigan – A rivalry game with major playoff implications. I'm not sure why this game isn't at night but I know the BIG HOUSE will be rocking.
  • #11 Florida @ #5 LSU – Another big game with playoff implications. The Gators are walking into Death Valley as the underdogs and will try to contain the unstoppable force that is Leonard Fournette.
  • Arizona State @ #6 Utah – The Utes are the hottest team in football this season but the Sun Devils will look to knock off their second top-ten this season, defeating UCLA a couple weeks ago.  
  • USC @ #13 Notre Dame - The Trojans are coming off another upset loss to an un-ranked opponent in the Pac-12. Their head coach will not be on the sidelines, and offensive coordinator Clay Helton will take over as interim head coach. With everything stacked against them, don't be surprised if the Trojans can walk out of South Bend with a victory. 

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The Weekend: Florida smash Ole Miss; Four teams in top ten suffer losses; Elliot rushes for 274 yards

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The Weekend: Florida smash Ole Miss; Four teams in top ten suffer losses; Elliot rushes for 274 yards

While the top 4 teams switched spots, the bottom half of the top ten seen a major shake up. 4 teams in the Fan-I top ten suffered losses this past weekend, which means spots are available. What I find most entertaining is how the Associated Press over rank a team and then that team losses badly weeks after. Ole Miss jumped from #15 to #3 after defeating Alabama – that same #3 team was trailing Florida 25-0 at halftime. This week Utah made the ultimate leap jumping to #5 after not even playing this week. It's safe to say that Utah earned that leap after defeating two AP ranked teams convincingly, Oregon and Michigan, and will face another this week, newly ranked California. 

AP Rankings 

RKTEAMRECPTSTREND

1Ohio State(38) 5-0

2TCU(5) 5-0 

3Baylor(10) 4-0

4Michigan State 5-0

5Utah(7) 4-0

6Clemson 4-0

7LSU 4-0

8Alabama 4-1

9Texas A&M(1) 5-0

10Oklahoma 4-0

11Florida 5-0

12Florida State 4-0

13Northwestern 5-0

14Ole Miss 4-1

15Notre Dame 4-1

16Stanford 4-1

17USC 3-1

18Michigan 4-1

19Georgia 4-1

20UCLA 4-1 

21Oklahoma State 5-0 

22Iowa 5-0 

23California 5-0 

24Toledo 4-0

25Boise State 4-1

Fan-I 15


1. Ohio State (5-0) LW 1, W 34-27 @ Indiana
2. TCU (5-0) LW 2, W 50-7 Texas
3. Baylor (5-0) LW 3, W 63-35 Texas Tech* 
4. Michigan State (5-0) LW 4, W 24-21 Purdue
5. LSU (4-0) LW 5, W 44-22 Eastern Michigan
6. Utah (4-0) LW 12, BYE
7. Florida State (4-0) LW 7, W 24-16 Wake Forest
8. Clemson (4-0) LW 13, W 24-22 #8 Notre Dame
9. Alabama (4-1) LW 11, W 38-10 #9 Georgia
10. Oklahoma (4-0) LW 14, W 44-24 West Virginia
11. Northwestern (5-0) LW 15, W 27-0 Minnesota
12. Florida (5-0) LW NR, 38-10 #10 Ole Miss
13. Texas A&M (5-0) LW NR, W 30-17 Mississippi State
14. Notre Dame (4-1) LW 8, L 22-24 @ #13 Clemson
15. Michigan (4-1) LW NR, W 28-0 @ Maryland 

  • The AP and Fan-I 15 top 4 are identical – even though the our top 4 has looked this way since week 3. 
  • TCU offense with Trevone Boykins, a former receiver, seemed to have found their groove since that slow start in the beginning of the season against Minnesota. Boykins threw his 76th touchdown pass against Texas, passing Andy Dalton for the most touchdown passes in school history. 
  • The Buckeyes had themselves another scare, barely defeating the Indiana Hoosiers. The Buckeyes won't see a ranked opponent until late November, and I'm curious to see how long the AP voters will keep them at #1. I already know the playoff committee won't keep them at #1 if they keep having these “unimpressive” wins. 
  • Florida, Utah, Michigan are the hottest teams in the country. Michigan defense for the second week in a row shut out their opponent. I'm still skeptical on their quarterback situation, but for now Jake Rudock is getting the job done. Florida embarrassed the Rebels from the opening kickoff. After defeating Tennessee, first year Gator coach,  Jim McElwain, said that they'll do their best against the Rebels who should “beat the heck out of them”. I think his players took that to heart. 
  • Bama makes their way back into the top ten after trumping the Bulldogs. Bama needed a win like this to prove pundits like myself, that they are not overrated. If the Tide can keep their record to only one loss for the next three weeks, just in time for the playoff rankings, don't be surprised if they are in that top 4, 

Player of the Weekend

(David Jablonski/Daily Dayton News)

(David Jablonski/Daily Dayton News)

Ezekiel Elliot, RB Ohio State – 23 carries 274 yards 3 touchdowns vs Indiana
Coming into the season, everyone was riding the wave that was Ezekiel Elliot, but once Leonard Fournette started running defensive backs over, Elliot became the forgotten back –  not this week. Elliott rushed for a career high, second most this season (Tyler Ervin San Jose State 300 yards 9/26), and second behind Eddie George for most in Ohio State history. 

Honorable Mention: 

  • Leonard Fournette, RB LSU – 26 carries 233 yards 3 Tds vs Eastern Michigan
  • Kavontae Turpin, WR TCU – 6 catches 138 yards 4 Tds vs Texas 

Power 5 Rankings 

1. Big-12
2. Big Ten
3. SEC
4. ACC
5. PAC-12 

The Big 12 only has three teams ranked in the Fan-I 15 but I think their conference has been most consistent so far this season, reason why I put them ahead the Big Ten. SEC seen two of their top-ten teams suffer losses to lower ranked teams, something that seems to happen every week in the SEC. The ACC jumps the PAC-12 solely because of Clemson victory over Notre Dame, who will play an ACC schedule but remain Independent. With UCLA losing to an unranked Arizona State, it will leave the PAC-12 with one team in the top ten; if Utah suffers a loss, I don't think the PAC-12 will get a team to crack the playoff committee's top 4. 

Games to watch next weekend 

  • #11 Northwestern @ #15 Michigan – How often do you see the Wolverines playing the underdog role against Northwestern? Both teams need a win to push them a little bit closer to the top ten rankings. I expect good in Ann Arbor. 
  • #2 TCU @ Kansas State – The only reason why I think this is a game to watch is because, one it is under the lights, and two, TCU is the road. Those two factors are always a tough mixture for top ranked teams to swallow. I do think the Horned Frogs will win this game but it will be a tough one. 
  • Miami @ #7 Florida State – Florida State has won the last 5 meetings in this rivalry. Even though Miami is unranked, I still think this will be one of the better games of the weekend. 
  • #12 Florida @ Missouri – Florida will play their first game on the road as a top ranked teams and a favorite. This game will also be under the lights and I'm not sure if the Gators will be able to handle the pressure and may become victim of the trap game. 
  • California @ #6 Utah – Rice-Eccles Stadium will be rocking Saturday night for this game. Both squads are undefeated, something no one predicted for these two PAC-12 darkhorses. 

#10 Oklahoma vs. Texas – Texas doesn't make this game a must see but this is the Red River Shootout where rankings and records don't mean much. In 2013, the unranked Longhorns defeated the #12 Sooners 36-20 in Mack Brown's final season as Texas head coach. I expect the Longhorns to come out inspired. 

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The Weekend: Utah Embarrasses Oregon; Fournette rushes for 200+

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The Weekend: Utah Embarrasses Oregon; Fournette rushes for 200+

Last week, I said Alabama and USC suffered losses that will damage their program in the long-run. This week Oregon suffered one of those same program-defining losses, just multiplied by 5. The Ducks on home soil suffered a 62-20 loss to Utah, who essentially was the underdog in this game. The Utes gave the fans of Eugene, Oregon the worst experience since 1977, when the Washington Huskies defeated the Ducks 54-0. Vernon Adams Jr. and Jeff Lockie played in this slaughter and could only put together two scoring drives, something that is unheard from the innovative no-huddle offense of Oregon. This goes to show you that no matter what, anyone can be beat in college – especially if they lack a quarterback.

Fan-I 15

  1. Ohio State (4-0) LW 1, W 38-12 Western Michigan

  2. TCU (4-0) LW 2, W 55-52 @ Texas Tech

  3. Baylor (4-0) LW 3, W 70-12 Rice

  4. Michigan State (4-0) LW 4, W 30-10 Central Michigan

  5. LSU (3-0) LW 5, W 34-24 @ Syracuse

  6. UCLA (4-0) LW 8, W 56-30 @ Arizona

  7. Florida State (3-0) LW 6, BYE

  8. Notre Dame (4-0) LW 9, W 62-27 UMass

  9. Georgia (4-0) LW 8, W 48-6 Southern

  10. Ole Miss (4-0) LW 11, W 27-16 Vanderbilt

  11. Alabama (3-1) LW 10, W 34-0 UL-Monroe

  12. Utah (4-0) LW NR, W 62-20 @ #12 Oregon

  13. Clemson (3-0) LW 13, BYE

  14. Oklahoma (3-0) LW 14, BYE

  15. Northwestern (4-0) LW NR, W 24-14 Ball State

  • There was some slight movement in the in the rankings. UCLA and Notre Dame made the biggest impressions for me, along with Utah. UCLA went into Tuscon and defeated the Arizona Wildcats who was 16th in the AP polls. The Bruins were apart of many pre-season Final Four playoff rankings, and so far with the freshman quarterback, they have not disappointed. It will be interesting to see how they pan out during conference play, in what some are calling the “best conference in football”.

  • Michigan enters the AP Polls this week after they spanked BYU 31-0, their first shutout since 2011.

Derek Jeter takes in the Michigan game as they play BYU at the Big House. #Repost @umichathletics

A photo posted by HighlightHub™ Sports (@highlighthub) on

Player of the Weekend

(Ap Photo) 

(Ap Photo) 

Leonard Fournette, RB LSU – 26 carries 244 yards 2 touchdowns vs Syracuse

For the second week in a row, Fournette has rushed for over 200 yards while averaging at least 9 yards per carry. I'm not sure if anyone will be able to stop this kid this season. The #1 player coming out of high school in 2013 is on a mission to prove that he is the best back in the country, and maybe the best back we seen since Adrian Peterson. We'll see if he can continue this run streak.

Honorable Mention:

  • Josh Doctson, WR TCU – 18 catches 267 yards 3 Tds vs Texas Tech

Treyvone Boykin, QB TCU – 34/54 485 yards 4 Tds vs Texas Tech

Travis Wilson, QB Utah – 327 total yards 5 Tds vs Oregon

This week of college football wasn't very exciting other than Utah demolishing Oregon. What is on the horizon though is full on conference play, which separates the men from the boys. Some teams have already played conference games but from here on out that’s all it will be.

On 4th and 14, Florida QB Will Grier finds WR Antonio Callaway for an epic last-minute 63-yard touchdown to beat Tennessee.

A video posted by HighlightHub™ Sports (@highlighthub) on

The SEC is already two games into their conference season, Florida leading the East and Ole Miss leading the West. They will meet next week in Florida, which I think will be a very tough game for Ole Miss. Last season they had a taste of what it is like to be the favorite, winning seven games straight before losing four of their last six. This will be Florida's first time starting 4-0 since 2012, where they finished 11-2.

Power 5 conference Rankings

  1. Big Ten

  2. Big 12

  3. SEC

  4. PAC 12

  5. ACC

I think people are a little too over-excited about the PAC-12. I understand that they have 5 teams in the AP Rankings but the highest ranked team is UCLA at #7. Utah made a strong jump to #10 but their win against the Ducks just proved that Oregon isn't that good. The Big Ten and Big 12 split our top four teams, while the SEC sits outside. There is a strong possibility the SEC will only have one team in the 4-team playoff, or maybe even worse, no teams at all. How amusing would that be?

Games to Watch Next Week

Fan-i 15 rankings

  • West Virginia @ #14 Oklahoma – The over/under for this game is 58.5, I say take the over.
  • Minnesota @ #15 Northwestern – The Wildcats are undefeated and are receiving some love from both us and the AP voters. The Golden Gophers will give them a tough challenge in this trap game.
  • #11 Alabama @ #9 Georgia – The Bulldogs will have the opportunity to put end to any playoff hopes the Tide has with home victory. The last time the Bulldogs defeated Bama in Sanford Stadium was 2003.
  • #10 Ole Miss @ Florida – Last time these two played was in 2008, where the Rebels defeated the 4th Gators in Gainesville 31-30. The Gator went on to win the 2008 BCS Championship and 22 straight games.
  • #8 Notre Dame @ #13 Clemson – This is my pick for game of the week. I always thought Death Valley was one of the most hostile environments in college football, especially when the Tigers are one of the better teams in the country. I'm curious to see how backup turned starter, Deshone Kizer, will handle the raucous crowd.   

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