The inspiring story of an unlikely Buckeye legend, in his own words
In the days before college football’s first four-team playoff field was announced in 2014, there were doubts that Ohio State would even make the cut. The Buckeyes entered the Big Ten Championship ranked No. 5, and they were starting their seldom-used backup at quarterback. But by mid-January, the Buckeyes were hoisting the National Championship Trophy, led by that unlikely hero behind center: Cardale Jones.
Growing up in inner-city Cleveland as part of a large, athletic family, Jones saw sports as a pathway out. The ecstatic joy Ohio State’s 2002 national championship brought to his community made his goal clear: he would play for his home-state Buckeyes.
In this revealing memoir, Jones takes reflects on his the path to Columbus, to the pinnacle of college football, and beyond. He shares the selflessness of his guardian, Michelle Nash, as life at home got rough during his high school years. He recalls meeting assistant coach Tom Herman for the first time while at Fork Union, cramming two years of recruiting into an hour-long meeting.
Readers will go behind the scenes into the Ohio State locker room as head coach Urban Meyer’s tough love served as a wakeup call, and into the huddles, meeting rooms, and celebrations as Ohio State made their improbable run to a title. And Jones, who has returned to Columbus to help run an NIL fund for OSU student-athletes, shares his thoughts on college football’s future and his new mission.
Jones’ story is an essential read for Ohio State fans and anyone who cheers for unexpected heroes.
About the Author
Cardale Jones was the winning quarterback on Ohio State’s 2014 National Championship team and went on to play in the NFL. He is the co-founder of THE Foundation, which helps Ohio State athletes use their NIL to promote charitable causes
Bill Rabinowitz has covered Ohio State football for The Dispatch since 2011. Before that, he covered the expansion Cleveland Browns (1999-2004) and Cincinnati Bengals (2005-07). He has written books on the undefeated 2012 team (Buckeye Rebirth) and the national championship 2014 team (The Chase).