After 3 starts, QB Jones opts to stay at OSU

Updated: January 15, 2015, 5:25 PM ET news services

Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones said Thursday he will stay with the Buckeyes and not enter the NFL draft.

The Cleveland native announced his decision at his former high school, Ginn Academy.

[+] EnlargeCardale Jones

AP Photo/Bill HaberCardale Jones says he’s returning to the Buckeyes despite an unprecedented three-start run that culminated in a national title.

A source close to the quarterback told ESPN’s Joe Schad that the past 48 hours have been “very stressful” for Jones.

Noting that a high third-round NFL draft pick could command close to $ 1 million in guaranteed salary, that person said “that kind of money isn’t as easy as you get in your lifetime as you might think.”

Technically, Jones could have declared and still withdrawn from the draft within 72 hours of Thursday’s midnight ET deadline.

Jones, Ohio State’s third-string quarterback, was promoted to starter after season-ending injuries to Braxton Miller and backup J.T. Barrett. The 250-pound third-year sophomore’s résumé includes three starts — a Big Ten title, an Allstate Sugar Bowl title and a 42-20 win over No. 2 Oregon in the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T.

Despite those accolades, Jones said Thursday, “In my opinion, I think I can get a lot better.”

Jones also indicated that it’s not certain he will even start next year for coach Urban Meyer’s defending national champions.

“I wanted to go back to school and compete for the spot,” Jones said.

Jones threw for 242 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score against the Ducks. Although relatively inexperienced, Jones is in fact older than both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, who are expected to be the top two quarterbacks chosen in the 2015 NFL draft. Jones is also older than current NFL rookie quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater.

Jones’ decision was widely supported, with former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett chiming in on Twitter.

By electing to stay in school, Jones might have left up to $ 2 million on the table.

Two autograph-industry insiders told’s Darren Rovell that Jones could have made at least $ 250,000 from an exclusive autograph deal.

Jones was projected to be selected anywhere from the third quarterback in the draft to somewhere in the late-second or third round. That meant he could have gotten a deal similar to that of New England Patriots rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo was picked 62nd overall and got a contract with $ 1.1 million guaranteed and a bonus of $ 853,744.

Information from’s Darren Rovell contributed to this report.

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