COLUMBUS — Ohio State junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins will forego his senior season to enter the 2013 NFL Draft, the all-Big Ten selection announced on Monday.
"I have decided, with the support of my family, to forego my senior season at Ohio State in order to enter the NFL Draft," Hankins said. "I will always be grateful for the family I have gained here at Ohio State.
"I want to thank Coach (Urban) Meyer, Coach (Mike) Vrabel and strength coach (Mickey) Marotti for bringing the best out of me as a football player and person, and for their constant support. I also want to thank Coach (Jim) Tressel and Coach (Jim) Heacock for recruiting me and giving me an opportunity to be a part of this great school and great program."
Hankins, who started every game for the Buckeyes the past two seasons, has been projected by many NFL scouting experts as a high first-round selection for this April's draft.
Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer said he wishes the best for the man they call, "Big Hank.".
"I have enjoyed coaching and getting to know Johnathan Hankins over the past year," Meyer said. "His hard work on and off the field has given him an opportunity to move on to the next level. The coaching staff and I wish him all the best."
Hankins leaves Ohio State with 138 career tackles (16.5 for losses) and five sacks. He stated Monday that he will be returning to school to finish his degree in Criminology.
"My three years at The Ohio State University have provided amazing experiences for me, and they are years I will never forget or take for granted," Hankins said. "My plans are to return to finish my degree and to continue to be a part of this brotherhood of Buckeyes. I am so appreciative for the support I have received from my teammates, the coaching staff and administrators at Ohio State, and of course, my family."