Ohio State transfer Keandre Jones talks about the status of his waiver from the NCAA to play for Maryland next season. (Don Markus, Baltimore Sun video)
COLLEGE PARK — Linebacker Keandre Jones, who transferred from Ohio State to Maryland in late January, said Thursday that he is still hopeful of playing for the Terps in 2019 as he awaits an answer from the NCAA regarding his hardship waiver.
Jones did not get into the details surrounding his request for the waiver. He is currently practicing with the Terps and trying to finish his undergraduate course load.
According to NCAA rules, undergraduate transfers must sit out a year after enrolling at a new school unless a waiver is granted. Two star quarterbacks seeking transfers — Tate Martell at Miami and Justin Fields at Ohio State — were granted immediate eligibility this offseason through hardship waivers.
“My attention right now is school first, getting through the spring,” Jones said after practice. “We’ll let the waiver stuff handle itself out.”
As a four-star prospect at Good Counsel High in Olney, Jones had initially committed to Maryland, but, along with quarterback Dwayne Haskins, flipped to Ohio State after interim coach Michael Locksley wasn’t given the job on a permanent basis. Locksley was hired as Terps coach in December after spending three seasons at Alabama.
“This is home, coming back home was a big opportunity for me,” Jones said. “Coming back and being around my family, friends and loved ones. It’s just acclimating to my teammates, and the new coaching staff. I’m adjusting well.”
Asked what was the primary motivation for transferring, Jones said: “This is where I’m comfortable. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to come back with Coach Locksley … It really was a no-brainer once I put my name in that transfer portal.”
After nearly leading Maryland to victories at Indiana and over No. 10 Ohio State last fall, quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome is trying to make a good first impression on new coach Michael Locksley and offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery.
It should give Jones a chance to play a more significant role in a team’s defense. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound Jones played mostly on special teams in the 34 games he appeared in over his three seasons for the Buckeyes.
With the graduation of first-team All-Big Ten linebacker Tre Watson as well as second-team All-Big Ten safety Darnell Savage, the Terps are looking for experience and playmakers on defense.
That Jones is coming from Ohio State doesn't hurt in terms of being around a winning, championship-level program.
“Just bringing that culture, and playing that leadership role and showing the guys how it is having that winning mentality, which a lot of the guys already have,” Jones said. “Just getting everybody on board and believing in this year.”
NOTE: Corey Dyches, a three-star receiver from Potomac (Md.) High for the Class of 2020, announced Thursday his commitment to Maryland on Twitter. Dyches, the No. 28 player in Maryland and the nation’s No. 128 receiver, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, is the Terps’ second 2020 commit, joining three-star offensive lineman Jordan White.