Cardale Jones introduced himself to the world back in 2012 with one infamous tweet:
Then a redshirt freshman at Ohio State, the tweet was pretty much all anyone knew about Jones, at least until he third-string-quarterbacked the Buckeyes to the national title in January 2015. It’s still probably the thing most people — apart from Buckeyes fans and hardcore college football enthusiasts — remember about him, even though he later explained the tweet stemmed from his frustration at receiving a B on an exam he thought he had aced.
Since then, Jones has tried to shed his unscholarly image.
And on May 7, the guy who wasn’t there to “play school” is graduating from Ohio State with a degree in African American and African studies. Tom Herman, his offensive coordinator at Ohio State who has since become the head coach at Houston and then Texas, will be attending to see Jones walk across that stage.
He’s even missing out on a chance to rub elbows with the hip-hop hoi polloi.
Herman perhaps felt an extra obligation to be there for Jones, who nearly transferred away from Columbus because of the harassment he was getting from his coach. Here’s Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated in 2014:
Things bottomed out when Herman put a dunce cap on Jones in a quarterbacks meeting last year. The cap wasn’t indicative of Jones’s intelligence — “He’s really smart and quick-witted,” Herman says — but rather a sign of frustration at Jones’s refusal to accept his responsibilities. Finally Herman drew up a contract stating that if Jones missed class and didn’t achieve a certain grade-point average, he’d be kicked off the team. “There were continual doubts in my mind whether he would make it or not,” Herman says.
Jones left Ohio State with one year of eligibility remaining, and the Buffalo Bills took him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft, and he played in mop-up duty in the team’s final regular season game. In February, he told the Columbus Dispatch that he was back on campus to finish the two classes he needed for his degree.
“He has come a long way,” Buckeyes Coach Urban Meyer said then. “Wow.”