Just one day after knocking off Notre Dame in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State redshirt sophomore linebacker Darron Lee is heading to the NFL.
After an impressive performance against Notre Dame that included seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, Lee announced his intentions via his Twitter account Saturday evening.
“After thorough research and careful consideration, I have decided to forego my last 2 years of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft,” Lee said. “I would like to thank Coach Meyer and Coach Fickell as well as the rest of our coaching staff for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime that has changed my life forever. I feel it is in my best interest to take this next step in achieving my dream.
“These have been some of the greatest years of my life here at Ohio State and I am blessed and honored to be a Buckeye for the rest of my life. Thank you Buckeye Nation for accepting me with open arms and loving me just as I love you guys! It has been a pleasure to play for the greatest University on the planet, with the best teammates a guy could ask for. I will never forget my time here and most importantly all the fun we have had! OH-!!”
Lee finished the 2015-2016 season with 66 tackles and 4.5 sacks, and entered the bowl season ranked fifth on the team in total tackles.
Lee’s departure marks the second of what could be a mass exodus of Ohio State underclassmen as Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jones have already declared for the draft with eligibility still remaining.
Other Buckeyes considered to be candidates to bolt for the NFL include wide receivers Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall to go along with secondary players Eli Apple, Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell.