J.K. Dobbins will be playing his football on Sundays next season.
The Ohio State running back announced Monday that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2020 NFL draft.
I will forever be a buckeye! pic.twitter.com/5TFhsPto9l— Jk dobbins (@Jkdobbins22) December 30, 2019
“Buckeye Nation, thank you for all the incredible memories. I love you guys more than you will ever know,” Dobbins said in his announcement. “The state of Ohio and the city of Columbus will always have a special place in my heart. With that being said, and after a tough decision, I'll be forgoing my senior season and will enter the 2020 NFL draft.”
Dobbins put together three stellar seasons for the Buckeyes, eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing mark each year. He set the school freshman rushing record with 1,403 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017, followed that up with 1,053 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore, then set Ohio State's single-season rushing record with 2,003 yards this season, in which he had 21 rushing touchdowns.
His career total of 4,459 rushing yards ranks second in Ohio State history, behind only Archie Griffin, while his 38 rushing touchdowns rank sixth. He also had 71 career catches for 645 yards and five touchdowns; his 5,104 career yards from scrimmage also rank second in Ohio State history, while his 43 total touchdowns scored rank fifth.
Dobbins earned first-team All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America this season, earning him a tree in Buckeye Grove, and finished sixth in this year's Heisman Trophy voting.
Altogether, Dobbins' record-breaking junior season cemented his place in history as one of the all-time best at a school known for its great running backs.
“J.K. is a Buckeye legend for everything he's done for this program and the heart and soul that he poured into it,” Ohio State center Josh Myers said after the Fiesta Bowl.
Dobbins is expected to be one of the first running backs selected in the 2020 NFL draft, joining a class that could also be headlined by Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, Georgia's D'Andre Swift, Alabama's Najee Harris and Oklahoma State's Chuba Hubbard, among others. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected Dobbins as the top running back off the board, at the No. 22 overall pick, in his most recent mock draft published Monday.
With Dobbins now headed to the NFL, Master Teague is the frontrunner to replace Dobbins as Ohio State's starting running back next season. Sophomore Marcus Crowley and redshirt freshman Steele Chambers are the top candidates to back Teague up, while incoming freshman Miyan Williams will also have an opportunity to compete for immediate playing time.
Dobbins is the first Ohio State underclassman to announce he is leaving early for the 2020 NFL draft. Other Buckeyes who are candidates to potentially follow his lead, but not have yet announced their decisions, include defensive end Chase Young and cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Shaun Wade. Wade reportedly plans to announce his decision during a ceremony in Jacksonville on Saturday.
Offensive linemen Thayer Munford, Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis all said during last week's Fiesta Bowl media day that they plan to stay at Ohio State for 2020.