By David Fong
TROY — Owen Greil just won “Show and Tell.”
Greil, a kindergarten student at Troy Christian, surprised his classmates when former Ohio State quarterback and likely NFL draft pick Cardale Jones stopped in at the school for a visit Wednesday. It was a visit most Troy Christian students won’t forget any time soon.
“It was cool,” Greil said of his guest, who helped lead the Buckeyes to a national championship two seasons ago. “My friends didn’t expect it. A lot of my friends got stuff signed by him.”
Not only was Jones able to visit with Greil’s class, he was able to be a part of an impromptu assembly for the entire school, at which he spoke about personal responsibility and doing the right things within the community.
“I’ve been friends with (Owen’s) dad for about a year and a half now,” Jones said. “We’ve stayed pretty close. He had asked if I would come and visit his son at school, and I said, ‘Sure.’ Owen is my buddy. I was honored to be able to come to the school and meet the students.”
Jones started his day Wednesday with a workout in Columbus for scouts from the Baltimore Ravens. Following the workout and lunch, he hopped in a car with Fred Greil, Owen’s father, and drove to Troy to meet with one of his youngest — but biggest — fans.
Jones — who was raised in the Cleveland area and attended Glenville High School before Ohio State — said he was impressed with Troy’s small-town feel during his brief visit.
“I’ve never been here before — it’s a nice little town,” he said. “Honestly, I had never even really heard of Troy before. When they told me how many people lived here, I was like, ‘How many? Really?’ But everyone has been really nice to me. All of the kids had about 1,000 questions for me, which is cool. It was fun.”
Jones said he also was impressed with Troy Christian Schools, particularly its mission program.
“I was able to learn about their mission program and their outreach service, which was great,” he said. “That’s great for the kids. I was glad I was able to talk to them about that. I think it’s cool that I’m able to be a role model and be a positive figure for kids.”
Fred Greil said Jones is all of that and more to his son.
“The coolest thing that happened is Owen is really shy — but when he came up to talk, he got all of the kids to start chanting Owen’s name,” the elder Greil said. “That was really cool. Owen really looks up to him. They are buddies.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong