Gholston The First To Go

Moments after confirming that CB Malcolm Jenkins would be returning to Ohio State for his senior year, the university also said that dominating defensive end Vernon Gholston would make the opposite decision to enter the NFL draft.

Ohio State fans learned Friday that they must often take the good with the bad.

Moments after news broke that cornerback Malcolm Jenkins would be returning to school for his senior season of 2008, Ohio State confirmed that defensive end Vernon Gholston would not be back and would isntead enter April's NFL draft.

"It is with profound emotion, yet great anticipation, that I announce my decision to forgo my senior year of collegiate eligibility as a member of the Ohio State football team and enter the 2008 National Football League draft," Gholston said in a statement. "I reached this conclusion through strategic meditation with my close family, coaches and teammates. The decision to enter the 2008 NFL draft will best serve our interests and future.

"As a son and as a man, it is my duty to serve and support my family to the best of my abilities. My childhood dream was, and still is, to one day be fortunate enough to do just that. I feel that time has come."

The NFL draft experts would seem to agree. NFL expert Chris Steuber tabs Gholston as the possible 10th overall pick in the draft in his latest mock draft. New Orleans holds that pick, and should it come to fruition Gholston would join fellow former Buckeye end Will Smith with the Saints.

"It has always been my goal to compete and succeed at the highest level of my profession. The National Football League is just that, and I now feel prepared to embark upon this task," Gholston said in the statement. "It's been through blessings, hard work, dedication and the help and support of so many others that I have been given this opportunity to do so."

He just finished a dominating 2007 season in which he led Ohio State with 14 sacks -- an Ohio State record -- and finished with 37 overall tackles. He also had a fumble recovery for a touchdown against Northwestern.

The Detroit Cass Tech product burst onto the scene in 2006 as a sophomore, finishing 49 tackles, 15 for loss, and 8.5 sacks while pulling in an interception. He missed 2005 with an injury after playing six games and making zero tackles in 2004.

"I want to thank all my supporters and advisors for their knowledge and guidance; The Ohio State University for its commitment to excellence and for molding me into a man," Gholston said in the statement. "Lastly, to our fans, Go Bucks!

"As I enter the 2008 NFL draft, my journey as an Ohio State football player comes to an end, but my passion and pride as a Buckeye will live forever. My time at The Ohio State University has connected me with so many great people and memories; I will remember and cherish them for the rest of my life.

"It has been a privilege serving this University. My only request is to be remembered as a fierce competitor and an unselfish teammate who put Ohio State and the team goals above my own every day I was here. I love you all. Thanks."

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