Ohio State junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said that although he has not made a decision on whether to forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft, he is “leaning towards staying” in school.
“Right now I’m dead flat in the middle. I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Shazier said Friday. “If I would say anything I would probably be leaning towards staying.”
Shazier, a first team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media, totaled 12 tackles in OSU’s 34-24 loss to Michigan State Dec. 7 in the Big Ten Championship Game. He led the conference in tackles during the regular season, tallying 122 total to go along with five and a half sacks.
The No. 7 Buckeyes (12-1, 8-1) are set to play No. 12 Clemson (10-2, 7-1) in the Orange Bowl Jan. 3 after losing to the Spartans and missing out on a chance to play for the BCS National Championship. Shazier said that will not play a factor into his decision for next year.
“This season’s really not playing much of a role in me coming back. It’s just the outcome of whether the coaches and everybody say that’s what’s best for me and my family, what’s best for us,” Shazier said. “I’m just going to look at the evaluations and whatever we just feel is the best decision … how much school I have left, what is the best circumstance. I’m just going to look at everything and how that plays out then make my decision.”
A projected first-round pick by CBS Sports, Shazier has been a vital part to the OSU defense during his three years in Columbus. The chance of being selected that high, though, is also not on his mind.
“To be honest I really don’t even know right now. I’m not even really focusing up on that I’m just focusing on the game,” Shazier said.