Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins will forego his senior season and plans to enter the 2013 NFL Draft, according to a news release Monday.
The 6-foot-3, 322-pound junior defensive tackle is the first Buckeye to announce his intention to take his talents to the professional level since first-year coach Urban Meyer guided the squad to its first undefeated season since 2002.
“I will always be grateful for the family I have gained here at Ohio State,” Hankins said in a released statement.
“I want to thank coach Meyer, (defensive line) coach (Mike) Vrabel and strength coach (Mickey) Marotti for bringing the best out of me as a football player and person … I also want to thank (former OSU) coach (Jim) Tressel and (former defensive coordinator) coach (Jim) Heacock for recruiting me and giving me an opportunity to be a part of this great school and great program.”
Many NFL analysts project Hankins being selected in the first 10 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft, which begins April 25.
Meyer wished Hankins “the best” in his future endeavors.
“I have enjoyed coaching and getting to know Johnathan Hankins over the past year,” Meyer said in the release. “His hard work on and off the field has given him an opportunity to move on to the next level.”
Hankins, who came to Columbus from Dearborn Heights, Mich., in 2010, leaves the school having amassed 138 tackles, five sacks and 16.5 tackles-for-loss.
Since 2011, Hankins has started in all 25 contests for the Buckeyes-13 in 2011 and 12 this season.
Hankins was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and second-team selection by the media on Nov. 26.
Hankins said his three years at OSU are memories he’ll “never forget or take for granted.”
“My plans are to return to finish my degree and to continue to be a part of this brotherhood of Buckeyes,” he said. “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.”