Ohio State is getting at least one of its senior defensive tackles back for an additional year of eligibility.
Antwuan Jackson announced Tuesday that he is returning to Ohio State for one more year, using the additional year of eligibility provided to all players by the NCAA.
Jackson's announcement comes one day after Tommy Togiai announced he was leaving Ohio State to enter the 2021 NFL draft. With Togiai gone, Jackson will be one of the frontrunners to start at nose tackle next season, along with Jerron Cage.
With Togiai sidelined for the national championship game, Jackson played a career-high 47 snaps in the season finale against Alabama and had the most productive game of his Ohio State career to date, recording five total tackles and a sack.
The 2021 season will be Jackson's fourth season at Ohio State but his sixth overall season as a collegiate player after he started his college career at Auburn. Jackson left Auburn after just one season and spent a year at Blinn College before transferring to Ohio State, where he arrived with high expectations but has been a backup for most of his career with the Buckeyes.
Now that Togiai is gone and the Buckeyes don't have a ton of proven defensive tackles returning, though, he could be in line to play a bigger role in 2021 and helps ease the concerns Ohio State would have had regarding experience and depth at that position.
Jackson was initially expected to move on after the 2020 season after being honored during Ohio State's virtual senior day, but he ultimately decided he should return to the Buckeyes for one more year.
“I know my journey didn't start here at Ohio State but choosing to play here was definitely my best decision,” Jackson said in Tuesday's announcement. “Playing here for the past three years has given me memories I'll cherish forever. I still have a lot to prove to my coaches, my teammates, and myself.”
Ohio State's other senior defensive tackle, Haskell Garrett, has not yet announced whether he will return for his additional year of eligibility or if he will enter the 2021 NFL draft. Regardless of whether Garrett returns, though, Jackson will be expected to provide veteran leadership at the defensive tackle position next season along with Cage and Taron Vincent.