When Urban Meyer wants you to shed a few pounds, you listen. Matt Jones (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) is still 6-foot-4, but has dropped 35 pounds since December, putting his current weight at 295 pounds.
Not coincidentally, schools have taken notice, as Kentucky, Toledo and West Virginia have offered.
Ohio State is one of 13 other schools showing interest, and that has the sophomore offensive guard excited.
“Right now, I have my speed down, the weight down and the strength up,” Jones said. “Ohio State wanted me to lose weight, but my dad told me if I didn’t I’d have two more years of playing football left.
“I’m a lot faster now. My weak part was pass blocking, but now it’s right in line with my run-blocking.”
Speaking of right now, the impressive lineman has Ohio State and West Virginia out in front. He’s been to both schools multiple times, though he warned his favorites could change with trips to Kentucky and Michigan State planned this summer. He plans on heading to the Ohio State and West Virginia camps as well.
While being close to home used to be an issue, interest from schools like Auburn, Arkansas and Purdue have changed his tune a bit.
“I’m looking for what I want to study (criminal justice) first,” Jones said. “School comes first and then I’ll look at where I feel at home and the football team after that.
“With Ohio State, any kid from Northeast Ohio dreams of that. Ohio State is just Ohio State. West Virginia is close to home. They play big-time football and my dad and cousin almost played there.”
Last season, Jones was the anchor on an 8-4 Hubbard team that averaged 242.0 yards per game on the ground and another 115.4 through the air.