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Browns' new big man Dawand Jones nearly picked KSU basketball over OSU football

Ohio State offensive lineman Dawand Jones (79) celebrates with fans after defeating Penn State 44-31 in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in State College, Pa.
Barry Reeger
Ohio State offensive lineman Dawand Jones (79) celebrates with fans after defeating Penn State 44-31 in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in State College, Pa.

One of the Browns' newest offensive linemen turns heads because of his size and two-sport ability. Dawand Jones of Ohio State was selected by the Browns in the fourth round of last month’s NFL draft.

At 6-foot-8 and 374 pounds, he’s one of the biggest players in the NFL, said Ideastream Public Media’s sports commentator Terry Pluto.

“Imagine LeBron James, he's six-foot-eight and LeBron's about 260, 270 [pounds]. So, [Jones is] about that tall, only he’s about 100 pounds wider,” Pluto said.

Pluto used the basketball comparison because Jones’ true passion in high school was basketball.

“Basketball was his dream. And he played at a very high-powered athletic school in Indianapolis, Ben Davis. And he was a very, very good basketball player there,” Pluto said.

Pluto said Jones was so focused on basketball that he quit football his junior year of high school. He started getting basketball scholarship offers from mid-major schools, including Kent State.

Pluto said he talked to coach Rob Senderoff about the summer Jones came for a visit, calling Jones “the biggest human being I’ve ever seen.”

“So, he comes in, they went out, they ate pizza. Rob Senderoff did say that he probably set the record for eating pizza on a recruiting visit," said Pluto. "He took an extra-large with him.”

Pluto said they also went bowling and then Jones met with the team that was paying pick-up ball in the gym.

“They put the ball on the floor, he says, he walks over and with one big hand, picks the ball up, walks to the rim, from a standing jump, stands up and [Senderoff] goes, ‘He almost tore the rim down,’" Pluto said. "Rob Senderoff, says, ‘So I'm thinking, who's going to stop this guy in the MAC?’”

Jones returned for his senior year of high school in Indianapolis and rejoined the football team. The rest is history.

“Suddenly he started getting a call to visit Mississippi State. Then Indiana offered him a scholarship for football, USC and then finally Ohio State. And he ended up committing to play football at Ohio State and played there for four years,” Pluto said.

Pluto said Jones continued with basketball his senior year in high school and led his team to the state finals.

As for the Browns, Pluto said he’s not expecting to see Jones on the field this season.

“The thing to keep in mind is the Browns drafted the third round and lower. The stats show that by, say, between the third and the sixth round, only about 15% of those guys end up starting in the NFL," he said. "They tend to be long shots, experiments. Like Dawand Jones. Is he kind of too big and sort of almost too slow to play in the NFL?”

Pluto said he’ll be following Jones closely.

“I'm always kind of intrigued when they draft a basketball player for football because basketball skills, especially the ability to move laterally, make quick stops and starts, helps you in football, you know, if you've got the size," he said. "So, Dawand Jones is not going to start this year, but we'll see.”

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