Can Gareon Conley make it back-to-back seasons an Ohio State cornerback is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft? That won't be decided for a few more months. But Conley is at least going to try.
The redshirt junior and Buckeye captain is forgoing his final season of eligibility in Columbus to enter the draft. He made the announcement on his Instagram account on Tuesday. He becomes the second Buckeye to declare in as many days, joining safety Malik Hooker.
A screengrab of Conley's message from his Instagram post:
Conley served as one of Ohio State's seven captains during the 2016 season, the lone returning starter in the secondary following the departures of Vonn Bell, Tyvis Powell and Eli Apple, who the New York Giants picked 10th overall last spring. He finished tied with Marshon Lattimore for second on the team in interceptions this season, with four.
Conley also broke up eight passes and recorded 26 total tackles to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors from the league's coaches. In his two years as a starter, Conley recorded 75 tackles.
Conley is a projected second or third round draft pick by CBS Sports. NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller has Conley as his second-best corner, however.
Gareon Conley will enter the 2017 NFL draft, per sources. Is my No. 2 ranked CB.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 3, 2017
In his final act a Buckeye, Conley intercepted Clemson quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Deshaun Watson's first pass of the game in the Tigers' 31-0 victory.
The Buckeyes boasted one of the best secondaries in the country this season. Conley was a huge reason why.
Targeting Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore has not gone well for opposing QBs this season pic.twitter.com/oU9nBKTx2a
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) January 1, 2017
Conley graduated in December with a degree in sports industry.
The 2017 NFL Draft kicks off April 27 in Philadelphia.