Ohio State junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said Friday he's "dead flat in the middle" about whether to declare for the NFL draft or return for his senior season.
Many NFL analysts have Shazier projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick.
"I’m going to talk it over with my family and the coaches, try to get the best analysis I can so when I do make my decision it will be the best decision for me," Shazier said before practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. "Right now I’m dead flat in the middle. I don’t know what I’m going to do. If I were to say anything, I’m probably leaning towards staying. I’m focusing on this game right now."
Ohio State (12-1) takes on Clemson (10-2) in the Orange Bowl Jan. 3 in Sun Life Stadium.
Asked if the 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game gave him a sense of unfinished business that might make him want to return, Shazier said, "This season is not playing that much of a role in me coming back. It’s the outcome of what the coaches and everybody say is best for me and my family, what’s best for us. Right now us not winning that last game is not really a big decision-maker in what I’m going to do.
"I’m going to look at all the evaluations, how much school I have left, what are the best circumstances. I’m going to look at everything."
Former coach Jim Tressel used to counsel his players to leave early if they were certain to be first-round picks. As to that possibility, Shazier said, "I really don’t even know right now, I’m just focusing on the game."