Did Shaun Wade make the right decision when he chose another season at Ohio State over entering the NFL Draft?
Only time will tell.
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The versatile defensive back’s choice goes against recent local and national trends, but he is not the first Buckeye to choose another year in Columbus.
Here are 11 notable returnees:
A receiver with blazing speed, Galloway was an All-Big Ten first-teamer as a junior who opted for one more year in 1994. A two-game NCAA suspension over a $200 loan prematurely ended his Heisman Trophy hopes but does not seem to have hurt his draft stock. After serving as a team captain as a senior, Galloway was the No. 8 overall pick in the 1995 draft and he went on to catch 701 passes for 10,950 yards and 77 touchdowns in 16 NFL seasons.
In 1997, the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder became the first Ohio State cornerback to lead the team in tackles and was rewarded with first-team All-America status. After putting off the draft, the hard-hitter repeated that honor and added the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. The Buckeyes’ hopes of being the first BCS national champs were dashed by a loss to Michigan State, but Winfield cemented himself as one of the best players in school history and was the No 23 pick in the draft. He played 14 years in the NFL and was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
Another defensive back from Northeast Ohio who brought the wood, Doss is perhaps the most notable on this list for two reasons: He is the only one who was not a first-round draft pick, and he is the only one who delivered a national championship for the Buckeyes.
Doss’ tearful press conference announcing his return can be considered the first memorable moment of an unforgettable 2002 season that ended with Ohio State stunning defending national champion Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl. He was the defensive MVP of that game after winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and consensus All-America honors at the end of the season. The three-time All-American’s 331 tackles are the most for an Ohio State defensive back, and he was selected to the OSU athletics HOF in 2011. He spent five seasons in the NFL after being a second-round draft pick.
Credit: Danny Moloshok
Credit: Danny Moloshok
Will Smith and Michael Jenkins
Fresh off a national championship, the duo chose one more season in Columbus and made their own history. Jenkins led Ohio State in receptions for a third season in a row and finished with a school-record 2,898 receiving yards before being chosen No. 29 in the draft.
Smith logged 20.5 tackles for loss, including 10.5 sacks, en route to being named the Big Ten’s best defensive player and lineman. The first-team All-American end was the No. 18 pick in the draft and won a Super Bowl with the Saints prior to his tragic shooting death in 2016.
Depth chart: Justin Fields among key pieces returning for Ohio State offense https://t.co/YBUdNhukkK— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) January 5, 2020
Bobby Carpenter and A.J. Hawk
After a disappointing 2004 season, Carpenter and Hawk opted to return along with fellow senior linebacker Anthony Schlegel to form the backbone of a Big Ten-championship defense. Hawk repeated as an a consensus All-American (unanimous in '05), won the Lombardi Award and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year before being the No. 5 pick in the draft. The Centerville graduate finished fifth in school history with 394 tackles and was inducted into the school's hall of fame last season. Carpenter tied the school record with four sacks against Michigan State and was the No. 18 pick in the draft.
An under-the-radar recruit from New Jersey, Jenkins was already a first-team All-American and three-time Big Ten champion when he chose to come back for his senior season in 2008. He made good on his return by winning the Thorpe Award and being named a consensus All-American while playing cornerback and safety.
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Jenkins was the No. 14 pick in the draft and remains active in the NFL, where he is a three-time Pro Bowler and won a Super Bowl ring two seasons ago.
Three seasons as a starter, three wins over Michigan and three Big Ten titles weren’t enough for this standout from Georgia. He returned in 2010 to become a first-team All-Big Ten selection and a team captain. The Steelers chose him No. 31 in the draft and he remains a key part of the Pittsburgh defensive line nine years later.
The play that ended the Fiesta Bowl wasn’t quite Shawn Springs slipping against Michigan... but it’s close https://t.co/VKDwSpDeNa— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) January 4, 2020
The Butler High School graduate was a two-year starter, All-Big Ten performer and national champion but gave it one more go in 2015, a season in which he was a consensus All-American and named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. He remains with the Lions, who chose him 16th in the 2016 draft.
Price was already an All-American when he chose to return in 2017, but he etched his name in Buckeye lore by breaking Luke Fickell’s school record for consecutive games and starts (55).
A starter for the national championship team as a redshirt freshman, Price was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year as a senior and won the Rimington Award as the nation’s best center before being chosen by the Bengals with the 21st pick in the draft.
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