Landry Jones is returning for his senior season. Rather than hold a rah-rah news conference ala Matt Barkley at USC, predictably, Jones and OU decided to make the announcement via OU's former SID Kenny Mossman. Kudos to Jones and kudos for the low-profile approach.
Also kudos to Jones for making the pragmatic decision to spurn the millions he'd have pocketed if he'd chosen to leave school a year early for the NFL. It became obvious after the season-ending injury to Ryan Broyles that Jones has plenty of work to do before being able to read NFL defenses and execute against Darrelle Revis and Ray Lewis.
Don't get me wrong. Jones has a big-league arm and has many of the tools it takes to be where the NFL draft experts had him on their mock draft boards: mid-first round. But he also has deficiencies that another season at OU will help minimize, or in some cases erase.
Jones lacks the athletic ability of a Sam Bradford and most NFL QBs. Therefore, it is imperative that he be calm in the pocket and not take off when the pocket collapses—or when he believes the pocket is collapsing. His footwork has improved each season but could use another season under the tutelage of a bright OC/QB coach in Josh Heupel.
From a money standpoint—and at the end of the day that's where most of this decision was driven—Jones made a wise decision. My guess is when it was all said and done, the Type B young man from New Mexico would have gone somewhere between 14-20. Make improvements, win big and Jones will be a Top 5 pick. Do the long-term math and the call is a no-brainer. Unless ego takes over. In this case it didn't. Being betrothed to junior OU women's basketball player Whitney Hand didn't hurt OU either.
To the naysayers who claim they'd prefer Jones not stick, buy a clue. If you think Blake Bell or Drew Allen (who quietly must be bummed) would come close to giving OU a better chance to win championships next season over a first-round senior, you are out of your mind. Just ask Stoops, Heupel and anyone whose job is tied to winning championships.
Need proof? If Jones had left for the NFL, OU would not be a preseason Top 10 or 15 pick. They would certainly not be favored to win the Big 12. Now, OU may be as high as a Top 5 team. And they will be favored to win the league title.
We predicted this would happen and 4-and-a-half weeks ago we predicted that another dose of great news is coming: That Mike Stoops will become a defensive co-coordinator. With Jones and Stoops back in the fold, the bad taste the Sooner Nation had in its mouth after the Bedlam debacle should be gone. Well, let's not go that far. The bad taste has a chance to be gone because Jones and Stoops give the program a chance to redeem itself in 2012.