On Monday, Malik Hooker made the inevitable announcement that he’s off to the NFL.
A day later, one of his Ohio State teammates followed in his footsteps.
Junior cornerback Gareon Conley announced via Instagram that he’s also leaving Columbus early for the NFL draft:
Mannnnn it’s been a wonderful journey from recruiting to playing in the shoe. I feel like the past four years have really expanded and opened my mind and made me grow as a student an athlete and a man! It’s been an honor to play as a buckeye and a silver bullet and also to be apart of the great secondary this past year! I wanna thank everyone from family to friends to buckeye nation for all the love and support it’s a tremendous blessing to have played for yall. Most importantly I wanna thanks all my team mates who I was in the trenches with and through thick and thin I love y’all boys and y’all my brothas for life once a buckeye always a buckeye! I have decided to declare for the 2017 NFL draft. I wanna thank God cause I didn’t earn any of this he blessed me and I took advantage of the blessings and I’m just glorifying him. Thanks again buckeye nation #HowSheGoneEat #BIA #silverbullets #tbc …????
Conley’s announcement shouldn’t come as a major surprise. The ball-hawking cornerback was one of the top cornerbacks in the country in 2016.
The Buckeyes’ lone returning defensive back starter was second on the team in passes defended (12) and pass breakups (8). He also had four interceptions.
Conley was a key veteran on one of the top pass defenses in the country. The Buckeyes ranked seventh against the pass and third in scoring.
The Buckeyes replaced three of their starting four defensive backs last year because of early NFL departures. It appears they could be on their way to matching that number again in 2017.