Matthew Jones, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound offensive lineman for Ohio State, has started all eight games this season, including Saturday’s 44-31 win over Penn State, and has 13 starts since arriving on campus in January 2018. Overall, the right guard has made more than 30 appearances in his collegiate career.
It’s a career that the grad student believes has had some ups and downs, even though he likes his trajectory now.
Jones was regarded as a top-100 prospect coming out of Erasmus High in Brooklyn, New York. ESPN had him listed as the No. 41-ranked recruit in his class. He redshirted his first year, backed up All-Big Ten guard Jonah Jackson in 2019, and he made three starts in 2020, including both games of the College Football Playoffs against Clemson and Alabama in place of the injured Thayer Munford.
Finally, in 2021, Jones started to break through. He played 427 snaps from scrimmage and was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the conference media.
Meet the Ohio State Buckeyes
Meet Ohio State offensive lineman Matt Jones
I know you’re really into cars.
Yeah. That’s true. That’s true. I love cars.
How did that start?
Just since I was 8 years old, I’ve had a love for cars. I could point out any car and tell you the model and the year just by looking at it. So after that, it just became something.
Have you considered opening a garage once your playing career is over?
I have. I love restoring cars. I’m into the more old-fashioned (ones) and just getting my hands dirty restoring things. But that’s something I have in mind.
What kind of car are you working on right now? Or are you?
I’m working on an Infiniti G35. It’s a two-door sports car.
Does anyone on this team come close to you when it comes to a love of cars?
Not really. I haven’t really been able to connect with people when it comes to cars, but I know for sure when something is wrong with their car, they don’t hesitate to reach out to me to get a second idea of what the problem is, and I like that.
Have you ever fixed a teammate’s car?
I have. It was a simple fix. It wasn’t bad.
It wasn’t like someone didn’t put a gas cap back on or something like that, was it?
No. It was more like the intake manifold was loose. So the engine was taking in too much air, and it was causing the car to shut off. Just had to tighten it, really.
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If Ryan Day were a car, what kind of car would he be?
I think a Rolls-Royce. I think that’s a suitable way of saying it.
An S-Class Benz.
I can see that. And Tommy Eichenberg?
I think he’s more of a truck guy, so I would say a Ford Ram or a Jeep 6×6.
When you’re working on cars, what kind of music are you listening to?
Honestly, the thing is I never liked country music coming into my freshman year, but actually taking the time to listen to what they’re saying, it kind of impressed me. Not on the drinking side, but at least they respect women.
Do you have a favorite country music artist?
Luke Combs. He never fails.
Was there someone who got you turned on to country music?
Those former guys left, but I remember Josh Myers and everybody used to be in the unit room singing, and I was like, ‘Man, I might as well. Take it all in. Take it all in.’ And it’s pretty good. I like it.
Are you into racing? Have you ever raced a car before?
I have not. I have friends who do.
Who’s the biggest celebrity you have ever met?
I have met a couple of cool people, not really in the car world, but I’ve met a couple cool people. I would say it was meeting LeBron (James) one time my sophomore year. … That was a good experience.
Is LeBron your favorite athlete who is not a football player?
Yeah. He’s a pretty great player, and his worth ethic is what really kind of like opened my eyes to see things are possible. You’ve just got to keep your head up and keep going.
Who is your hero?
My parents are really my hero. And the reason why I say that is because having the opportunity to come here from where I was growing up is just like a blessing, so I just got to take advantage of everything I’ve got.
What was it about your background in New York that made this seem unlikely?
Just the surroundings of things. Everything moves fast, and then growing up, there’s a lot of unsafe areas. Just having the opportunity for a four-year deal here, it means a lot. You know, get away from the bad, and open up your eyes to something that’s possible, to open up your future.
How hard was it to get from there to here?
It wasn’t horrible. I would just say it’s totally different. Here compared to back home is a lot different, the atmosphere of things. I feel like here is more peaceful. Back home is aggressive and fast-paced.
And, now that you’re here, what do you do when you need to find an extra moment of peace?
Other than (cars), I love fishing. I fish too in my spare time. Those two put me at peace.
Biggest fish you’ve caught?
I caught two catfish this year, probably 12 inches. And I have never caught one before.
Yeah, and it was like a big experience. Just happy because we don’t have catfish in New York.
Do you like sailing?
I went once. I loved the experience of that. I wish I could have that later on. So that’s my intention. That would be a blessing if that comes my way.
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So when you build your own house someday, ideally where will it be?
Just somewhere calm and affordable, honestly. I don’t really think about going crazy. … There’s no need for that.
What makes a place “calm” for you?
Just the atmosphere, the community and the weather. And I always like to invest, so if I could have a business going that would be great for the community, that would be a plus.
How do the people who make you feel valued accomplish that?
It really means a lot when someone makes me feel valued because I really went through that roller coaster ride these past five years. It’s just a blessing to be where I’m at right now, not having given up. So they have stuck with me and fed me positive energy. And I love the support back home from my high school coaches, always reaching out to me and making sure I’m good.
What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for somebody?
I like to get my hands dirty, so I like building stuff. So I built a vanity set for my girlfriend.
Wait. So you work on cars and do woodworking?
You are unbelievably handy. Is there something you’re still learning?
I’m trying to learn how to weld.