Michael Thomas Declares for 2016 NFL Draft: Latest Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2016

Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas  warms up before an NCAA college football game against Penn State during  Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Penn State 38-10. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Paul Vernon/Associated Press

The exodus from Columbus continues, as the Ohio State Buckeyes lost another underclassman to the NFL draft.

According to ESPN's Joe Schad, Michael Thomas will forgo his senior season and make the jump to the next level.

"We have accomplished so much here and now I want to accomplish more at the next level," said Thomas, per Schad. "I plan to bring hunger to succeed, route running, hands and ability to attack the ball to the next level. I am 100 percent happy with my college choice and now me and many teammates; I hope to see them all in the NFL."

He joins an already-large group of key players for Ohio State who will bolt college. Running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Cardale Jones made their intentions clear in November, and head coach Urban Meyer confirmed defensive end Joey Bosa is leaving as well. In total, eight Buckeyes underclassmen are going to the NFL, per NFL Media's Albert Breer.

Thomas' departure will hurt even more after Jalin Marshall announced Tuesday he'll enter the draft, leaving OSU down its two best receivers from this year.

In his four years at the school, Thomas caught 113 passes for 1,602 yards and 18 touchdowns. Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod believes his contributions weren't fully appreciated:

Thomas didn't factor much in the offense as a freshman in 2012 and then redshirted in his sophomore year. For Tony Gerdeman of the Ozone, future college stars can learn from Thomas' relatively long road to his breakthrough:

B/R's Matt Miller ranked Thomas No. 22 overall in his most recent big board and considers him the third-best wideout in the 2016 draft class.

While he doesn't possess elite speed, Thomas is a reliable pass-catcher, a strong route-runner and is strong enough (6'3", 210 lbs) to create separation at the line of scrimmage from a defender. Few wide receivers this year have the complete package of skills necessary to succeed in the NFL like Thomas does.

He'll be a great addition for any offense next year, and Ohio State will have a hard time replacing his production in the passing game.

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