Ohio State junior linebacker Ryan Shazier has decided to forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft.
“Playing in the NFL is something that I have been dreaming about since my days in pee-wee football,” Shazier said in a press release Saturday. “I just feel that now is the perfect time for me.”
Shazier, who led the Big Ten in tackles with 144 in 2013, finished third in the country in tackles and tied for second in tackles for loss. He was also the Buckeyes’ leading tackler in each of the last two seasons.
He started 29 consecutive games for OSU, including starting every game since Urban Meyer took over as head coach of the Buckeyes in 2012.
During 2013, Shazier was the anchor for a Buckeye defense that finished the season ninth in the country in rushing yards allowed per game, only allowing 109.43 yards a contest.
Shazier said in the release that the coaching staff has been important in his development as a player.
“The coaches have really helped me to grow into the player I am today,” Shazier said. “Coach Meyer, (defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke) Fickell and all of the coaches at Ohio State have been amazing. I have great relationships with them and I feel as if all of them have been there for me. I am so blessed to have had them as my coaches.”
Shazier was named first team AP All-American and first team All-Big Ten by both the media and coaches. It was the second consecutive season the media voted Shazier first team All-Big Ten.
Shazier joins redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby as Buckeyes who have declared for the 2014 NFL Draft early.
He added that it wasn’t just the coaches, but everyone that was a part of the OSU football program that will make his time in Columbus memorable.
“I feel like my three years at Ohio State were about great relationships with coaches, my teammates and Buckeye Nation,” Shazier said. “Playing here was an amazing experience.
“And it is really hard to explain the brotherhood I have with my teammates…with Braxton (Miller), Curtis Grant and Doran Grant…Christian Bryant…Chase Farris…all the guys. They took care of me and were always there for me and I feel like we will be brothers for the rest of our lives. And I want to thank them for what they’ve done and for always being there for me. They know I’ll always be there for them.”