Ohio State’s reputation for preparing players for the NFL continues to hold true with a whole host of new blood expected to head to the league in 2018. Aside from the 19 seniors who played their last snap for the Buckeyes in the Cotton Bowl, there’s also a handful of other players, who despite still having eligibility remaining, will declare early for the NFL Draft and never suit up for the Scarlet and Gray again.
This approach of giving up one or more seasons has had hit or miss success over the years for former Buckeyes, but one thing’s for sure, several players will go with the gamble and leave their collegiate playing days behind them.
For awhile, my money was on Mike Weber taking his talents to the league, but after finding a nice carry-count alongside J.K. Dobbins, he could decide to stay in Columbus for one more season. Likewise with Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin; the two receivers have done enough to garner attention, but with only one true season of standout performances under their belts, they might not draw enough eyes for a draft pick.
One of my predictions is that wideout Johnnie Dixon does declare early for the draft, foregoing his remaining eligibility. With all the injury issues that he’s had to endure over the years, I see him going the way of Noah Brown, who, rather than risk another injury and potentially an NFL career in total, accepted a later-round draft position in hopes of being able to grow with a team for a year or two before getting his footing.
Stay tuned for all the decisions as they’re announced, and for comprehensive Ohio State-NFL Draft profiles.
Dec. 30: It didn’t take long before DE Sam Hubbard made the announcement we had all long expected, he will be foregoing his final season in Columbus and is headed to the NFL. He’s expected to be an early-round pickup and lots of NFL teams are certainly interested in getting the next pass-rusher out of Ohio State (thanks to Joey Bosa’s two-year dominance in the league).
Dec. 29: Just before game time, Denzel Ward announced that he wouldn’t be playing in the Cotton Bowl, and will also forego his final year of eligibility. Considered a potential first-round pick, his decision to turn pro a year early comes as no surprise -- his decision not to play in the bowl game, however, was a bit of a shocker.
Watch List: Buckeyes who could declare early for the NFL
- Johnnie Dixon
- Parris Campbell
- Terry McLaurin
- Demetrius Knox
- Isaiah Prince
- Mike Weber
- K.J. Hill
- Rashod Berry
- Jerome Baker
- Dante Booker
- Dre’Mont Jones
- Kendall Sheffield
- Damon Arnette