Ohio State junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is entering the 2013 NFL Draft, according to a report issued by the university.
"I have enjoyed coaching and getting to know Johnathan Hankins over the past year," OSU head coach Urban Meyer said in the release. "The coaching staff and I wish him all the best."
Hankins has played in 38 games over three seasons and started his sophomore and junior years. Hankins finished his junior season with 55 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack. In 2011, he was fourth on the team in tackles with 67, to go along with 11 tackles for loss.
“My three years at The Ohio State University have provided amazing experiences for me, and they are years I will never forget or take for granted,” Hankins said in the relase. “My plans are to return to finish my degree and to continue to be a part of this brotherhood of Buckeyes. I am so appreciative for the support I have received from my teammates, the coaching staff and administrators at Ohio State, and of course, my family.”
Most consider the 6-foot-3, 317-pound Hankins to be a first-round pick in April's draft. Mel Kiper of ESPN has him rated (In$ider link) as the 17th-best draft-eligible player in the nation.
The hulking Hankins often garnered comparisons to former Buckeye defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson. "Big Daddy" also decided to forego his senior season and was the first overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft.
Hankins started the season strong with 10 tackles against California and Alabama-Birmingham. He was an all-conference selection by league coaches.
His departure means that Ohio State will have to find four new starters along the defensive line.