Marshon Lattimore is the latest member of Ohio State's secondary to take the next step in his career.
The redshirt sophomore cornerback joins Malik Hooker, Gareon Conley and Raekwon McMillan as defensive underclassmen who plan to forgo their remaining eligibility and enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Lattimore made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday.
Thank you all! pic.twitter.com/eVeCqAbYJ6— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) January 11, 2017
Hooker made his intentions known last week on Monday, while Conley followed on Tuesday and McMillan on Wednesday. Conley and Lattimore look to become the third Ohio State cornerback to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in four years. Eli Apple went 10th overall last season to the New York Giants and Bradley Roby came off the board 31st overall to the Denver Broncos in 2014.
Lattimore dealt with a series of hamstring injuries early in his career, which caused him to miss the 2014 national championship season after surgery. He played in spot duty last season but then burst on the scene in 2016 following Apple's departure. Listed as a co-starter with Denzel Ward all season, it was clear from October on who the top two corners on the team were: Lattimore and Conley.
Lattimore's four interceptions in 2016 are tied with Conley for second-most on Ohio State's defense. He also returned one for a touchdown against Tulsa, where he weaved through a monsoon and the Golden Hurricane offense to find the end zone right before halftime.
In Lattimore's final act as a Buckeye, he tallied three tackles (one for loss) in Ohio State's 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. He finished with 41 tackles and nine pass breakups in 13 games to go with his four interceptions. Lattimore also allowed a 30.2 quarterback rating among cornerbacks in 2016, fifth-best at his position.
Lattimore's decision to leave early means six Ohio State underclassmen from its 2016 team are turning pro. Wide receiver Noah Brown and H-back Curtis Samuel join the four defensive players.
The 2017 NFL Draft opens on April 27 in Philadelphia.