Ohio State's best offensive weapon will not be on the roster next season.
Curtis Samuel is the latest Buckeye to decide to take his talents to the next level. He will enter the 2017 NFL Draft. 247Sports national director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong first reported the news on Monday. Samuel later confirmed the news on his Twitter account. His statement:
Samuel is the fifth Buckeye to turn pro after the team's shocking 31-0 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff at the Fiesta Bowl. Malik Hooker declared his intentions on Jan. 2, Gareon Conley did the same Tuesday and Raekwon McMillan joined them on Thursday. Wide receiver Noah Brown declared for the draft on Saturday night as well.
Samuel is the only player in all of college football this year to record more than 700 rushing and 700 receiving yards. He also scored 15 touchdowns on the way to being named first-team All-American by The Sporting News and Associated Press, an integral part to the Buckeyes finishing 11-2 and making the Playoff.
A projected early round selection by some and a top-50 pick by others, Samuel's extensive skill set makes him marketable to NFL franchises looking to spark their offense.
Samuel was named a finalist for the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player. He finished fourth in the voting behind winners J.T. Barrett and Saquon Barkley and third-place finisher Michigan's Jabrill Peppers. Samuel was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten performer at wide receiver this season after leading the team with 74 catches for 865 yards. The reception total was second in the conference this season.
He also delivered the play of the year for the Buckeyes, the 15-yard, game-winning touchdown run against Michigan in double overtime that propelled Ohio State to the College Football Playoff.
Samuel finishes his college career with 107 catches for 1,209 yards and 11 touchdowns to go with 1,286 yards and 15 touchdowns on 173 attempts, turning into the ultimate H-back and weapon for the Buckeyes in 2016.
The 2017 NFL Draft opens on April 27 in Philadelphia.