Two members of the All-Big Ten First Teams have decided to forego their senior seasons.
Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson, both juniors, will instead enter the NFL Draft with hopes of landing a starting job on a professional team.
Shazier was the Big Ten's leading tackler this season, recording 134 for an average of more than 10 tackles per game. He also led the conference with four forced fumbles and 22.5 tackles for loss, which ranked third nationally. He was one of two Big Ten players named to the AP's All-America First Team.
“Playing in the NFL is something that I have been dreaming about since my days in pee-wee football,” Shazier said in a statement. "I just feel that now is the perfect time for me.
“I feel like my three years at Ohio State were about great relationships with coaches, my teammates and Buckeye Nation. Playing here was an amazing experience.”
In three seasons with the Buckeyes, Shazier recorded 241 tackles in 38 games.
One other big-name Buckeye, however, might be hanging around Columbus for his senior season. Sports Illustrated reported Saturday that quarterback Braxton Miller — the two-time-reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year — is expected to stay.
Meanwhile, the exodus continues in Happy Valley. After head coach Bill O'Brien resigned to take the head-coaching job with the Houston Texans, star wideout Robinson is also headed for the NFL.
Robinson was the Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year following an excellent campaign in which he led the conference in receptions (97, 8.1 per game) and receiving yards (1,432, 119.3 per game). He was named to the AP's All-America Third Team.
"It was a great honor to play at Penn State," Robinson said in a statement. "I am blessed to have played with, and for, the people in the Penn State football program. This is a decision that I believe is best for my family and I, and I wish all the best to the University and all my teammates."
Robinson leaves Penn State after three seasons ranking second on the school's all-time list in receptions (177) and third in receiving yards (2,474). He set a school record this season with eight games of 100 or more receiving yards.