Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier will leave for the NFL Draft, multiple media outlets reported on Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Braxton Miller will stay for his senior season, however, as reported by Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel.
The news is fairly expected for Shazier. He was a First-Team All-American this season and is likely to be a first round draft pick in the pros. It’s not a surprise that one of the most decorated linebackers in the program’s prestigious history would take the jump to the riches of the pros.
This season, before Friday’s Orange Bowl, Shazier had 134 tackles (40 solo), 22.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four pass deflections and four forced fumbles. He was a team captain and, on the emotional side, changed his number to No. 2 in support of injured senior co-captain Christian Bryant.
Miller was not likely to be selected in the first two rounds of the draft, thus making his decision a smart one. He won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, but was injury-prone throughout and disappointed at the end of the Orange Bowl.
Overall, Miller had 2,094 passing yards, 1,068 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. He had been undecided in recent weeks about his NFL decision. The report of him staying for one more year certainly is a huge boost to the Buckeyes’ 2014 title hopes. He’s also likely to be among the favorites for the Heisman Trophy.
OSU cornerback Bradley Roby, who missed the Orange Bowl with an knee injury, officially declared for the NFL Draft earlier in the season. He was honored among the team’s seniors during Senior Day against Indiana on Nov. 23. Shazier was not honored during that day.
Thamel also reported that tight end Jeff Heuerman will stay for his senior year.
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AP Photo/Jay LaPrete