Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL draft, according to Ari Wasserman of the Buckeye Sports Bulletin:
Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins will leave OSU early and pursue the NFL Draft.— Ari Wasserman (@AriWassermanBSB) December 10, 2012
The junior defensive tackle had a standout year for the Buckeyes, piling up 55 tackles, four tackles for loss and one sack.
“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 (via ElevenWarriors.com). “I will always be grateful for the family I have gained here at Ohio State."
Hankins, who has started every game the last two seasons, has anchored the Buckeyes' defensive line. After three solid years in Columbus, he projects to be selected somewhere in the No. 10-15 range of this year's draft.
Replacing an All-Big Ten first-team selection is never easy, but Hankins was probably the player Ohio State was most suited to lose. The depth along the Buckeyes' defensive line is one of the team's strengths, fueled by the strong recruiting efforts of Urban Meyer.
Soon-to-be sophomores Tommy Schutt and Adolphus Washington were heavily used in Ohio State's defensive line rotation this year, and they played very well backing up Hankins in 2012. Joel Hale and Michael Bennett will also play inside.
With the loss of Hankins, Meyer will be forced to find replacements for all four of his defensive line starters going into the 2013 season.
Now, the attention turns to cornerback Bradley Roby. The redshirt sophomore has also been considering an early jump to the NFL, but most anticipate Roby will return for his junior season.
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