Late last month, Bob Stoops said it was his “gut feeling” that Landry Jones would return to Oklahoma for another season.
As is ofttimes the case, the gut was ultimately proven correct.
In a press release Thursday, the quarterback announced that he will remain at OU and compete for the Sooners in his senior year. Jones was widely projected to be the third QB selected in the April draft, perhaps even the second if Robert Griffin III does the unexpected and remains at Baylor.
Instead, he’ll attempt to rebound from a disappointing season both individually and from a team perspective.
“I want to accomplish the goals that I set before I got here, and there is still a lot more to do,” Jones said. “I want to make sure I’ve exhausted every effort in that area. And I want to be a senior. I enjoy being at OU and with my teammates and look forward to graduating with the guys that were in my class when I got here. … It would be a great honor to play in the NFL and that goal will still be there when I finish at Oklahoma. …
“We hope to have another opportunity to make a title run. Most of the offensive line returns and we have several receivers and backs return too. We’ve also got a lot of guys back on defense, so we’re confident that we can be a strong team.”
Jones is OU’s all-time leading passer with 12,389 yards, and is also tops on the school’s career list with 93 touchdown passes. In all, Jones holds 21 records at Oklahoma.
Suffice to say, Stoops is pleased that a player who has started 37 games the past three seasons at the most important position on the field decided to return.
“We know the positive influence Landry has on and off the field with our team,” Stoops said. “We’re excited that he’s coming back to build on what has already been an outstanding career. We expect another great year from him, and like the fact that he’s determined to be even better.”
Jones becomes the second high-profile quarterback to eschew a shot at the NFL for another year at the collegiate level, joining USC’s Matt Barkley. Along with Barkley and Montee Ball, who also announced today that he was returning, Jones will be mentioned among the preseason contenders for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
Given the role backup QB Blake “The Belldozer” Bell assumed over the latter portion of the 2011 season — Jones had just one touchdown pass the final four games, while Bell accounted for 10 on the ground during the same timeframe — it will be an interesting dynamic to watch unfold during the 2012 season, both as it pertains to the Heisman race and how it impacts the Sooners’ on-field success.