Cardale Comes Back

Cardale Jones, the Cinderella Story quarterback who went from third-stringer to the man who led Ohio State to a National Championship over a three-game span, had a press conference at 4 p.m. today.  Everyone assumed that Jones, who was eligible for the NFL draft and has definitely showed the cannon-powered arm that NFL teams covet, was going to announce that he was leaving the Buckeyes to turn pro.

Not so.  Cardale Jones surprised just about everyone by announcing that he was staying in school.  He said: “I don’t know why you guys made it such a big deal,” and added “the  NFL after three games was really out of the picture for me.”  That’s a very sensible, mature perspective for a 22-year-old who could be expected to have a swelled head after being the talk of the sports world during his improbable rise to stardom.

But that’s not all that Jones said, and did, that was remarkable today.  He also mentioned that he didn’t expect to be handed the starting quarterback job and just wanted a chance to compete for it against Braxton Miller, who was out all season with an injury, and J.T. Barrett, who played brilliantly before suffering a brutal injury that ended his season and gave Jones his chance.  It’s refreshing to see that Jones doesn’t feel that his three-game blitzkrieg entitles him to special treatment.

So why did Jones have a press conference to announce that he was staying in school?  The location of the presser was the Ginn Academy in Cleveland, a school that caters to inner-city kids and tries to give them a quality education and a future.  By having the press conference there and announcing that he was going back to school, Jones tried to show some leadership and demonstrate to the kids of Cleveland that he values an education.  That’s a very impressive effort by a guy who, before the last month, was known mostly for an ill-advised tweet he sent years ago about not coming to Ohio State to “play school.”

I don’t know whether Cardale Jones will ever be a star NFL quarterback — but I really don’t care about that right now.  I think his actions today show he is a pretty good person who has grown a lot, and that really is a lot more important.

If You Want To Seem Smarter, Listen To Your Mom

If you want to seem smarter to your co-workers and new acquaintances, what should you do?  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, a growing body of research shows that you would do well to listen to your inner Mom and follow her advice.

Raise your hand if you remember your Mom telling you to sit up straight and look her in the eyes when you were talking.  It turns out that those are two of the visual clues people focus on in deciding whether a person speaking is intelligent.  It’s not hard to understand why people have that reaction:  those who slouch look slothful and undisciplined and speakers who don’t make eye contact seem shifty and deceptive, whereas people who sit up straight and look you in the eye seem engaged, interested, direct, and honest — all qualities that are associated with intelligence.

According to the article, other behaviors that projected intelligence included having self-confidence, being responsive in conversation and not over-talking, using clear language and not unnecessary big words, and — and this is a key one — admitting it when you don’t know something and asking for help rather than trying to fake it.  You can bet that, in most situations, your audience will include someone who knows that you’re just trying to bluff your way through and your credibility will take a hit.

Oh, and one other cliche actually turns out to be right:  the research shows that observers inevitably conclude that people who wear eyeglasses are smarter.  No word, though, on whether darker frames are correlated with higher presumed IQ.