DALLAS - It's hard to believe that Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones could go from third-stringer to an NFL draft prospect overnight.
But after making his first three career starts in place of injured J.T. Barrett and leading the Buckeyes to the inaugural College Football Playoff championship over Oregon, 42-20, on Monday night at AT&T Stadium, anything is possible for Jones.
As a redshirt sophomore, Jones is eligible to declare for this year's draft. He spoke briefly with Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer on Tuesday morning and plans to have more detailed discussions in the future, but Jones' initial reaction is that he needs more time to develop.
He completed 46 of 75 passes for 742 yards and five touchdowns and threw two interceptions in his three-game postseason run against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. At 6-5, 250 pounds, he's an imposing pocket presence and a powerful runner when he scrambles.
Still, even Jones found it hard to fathom how his stock has soared suddenly.
"I mean, it's very odd," Jones said Tuesday morning. "I'm starting three games in three years, and guys play their whole career to have that build up and have that motivation to play in the NFL.
"In my personal opinion, I'm not ready for that level yet. It's a conversation me and coach Meyer will have later down the road. But to me right now, it's far out."
Meyer looked at Jones during the news conference and said: "It's kind of cool to be sitting here using the word 'NFL' next to Cardale's name. I will tell you this: He could play in the NFL. He certainly has the talent. Is he ready right now? That's a chat I guess we'll have at some point."
Meyer will have a knotty problem to sort out if his original injured starter Braxton Miller decides to return for his final year of eligibility after the way Barrett and Jones played this season.