A few hours later, an official announcement from Ohio State confirmed the Buckeyes would indeed be losing a starter to the big-boy football league.
In a release, OSU confirmed that defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins has decided to forego his remaining eligibility and will dive headfirst into the April draft pool.
“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 in a statement. “I will always be grateful for the family I have gained here at Ohio State.
“I want to thank coach Meyer, coach Vrabel and strength coach 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 Tressel and coach Heacock for recruiting me and giving me an opportunity to be a part of this great school and great program.”
The 20-year-old lineman played in 38 games the past three years and started every game in 2011 and 2012 – 25 total. He was named All-Big Ten by the league’s coaches following a 2012 season that saw him credited with 55 tackles and four tackles for loss.
Hankins said he intends to return to the university to finish his degree.
“I have enjoyed coaching and getting to know Johnathan Hankins over the past year,” head coach Urban 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.”