COLUMBUS, Ohio -- If Cardale Jones had been given more time to weigh his options, the only thing that might have been different was the length of the list of pros and cons.
Either way, the Ohio State quarterback still believes he would have made the same choice to return to school and take part in a crowded three-man battle for the starting job for the defending national champions. But he wouldn't have minded a little extra time to mull it over, particularly given the time crunch of competing for and winning a title with a deadline to declare for the NFL draft looming just a couple days later.
"I don't know, I always say that if I had more time, maybe it would have been a different decision," Jones said. “But in my personal opinion, having more time I would have had a chance to weigh the pros and cons of coming back to school as well.
"My main thing was coming back to school to graduate so that when I do have a chance to go to the NFL, I don't have to worry about taking classes in the offseason. I want to be done with school when I'm done with school so I can devote all my time to being a great father and NFL quarterback."
For now, that means a summer loaded down with four classes, putting him on track to graduate in December before almost certainly skipping his final year of eligibility and becoming a professional.
Jones was adamant in January that his choice was a no-brainer based on academics and the desire for a diploma, but there is certainly an element of risk in putting off the NFL when his stock was undoubtedly high enough to have been drafted early, especially since there would be no guarantee of him starting for the Buckeyes this season.
His physical tools, from his strong right arm to his imposing size at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, will be every bit as appealing to scouts next year as they would have been after his coming-out party at the end of last season. But if Braxton Miller or J.T. Barrett can once again keep him on the sideline when they're healthy, it’s pretty difficult to imagine Jones would be anywhere close to the first-round pick some expect him to be next spring.
That might have found its way on to a pros-and-cons list at some point as well, but Jones isn’t looking for a mulligan on his decision, no matter how rushed it might have been. And he also isn’t afraid of some competition in August.
"I've said it so many times, I can't see to tomorrow," Jones said. "I've got things lined up in my day to help me get to tomorrow, to make tomorrow better than today. I don't really look too much to the future, I just want to take in and embrace the moment I'm living in now.
"[Mock drafts at] No. 6? Hey, that's pretty sweet and all that, but it has nothing to do with today. I just want to take advantage of my now and todays."
He's still doing that at Ohio State, and he still has no regrets about that decision.