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Ohio State junior quarterback C.J. Stroud declared for the NFL draft on the final day players can officially declare entering the 2023 draft.

According to ESPN draft analysts, Stroud is projected as a consensus top-five player in the NFL draft. He will compete with Alabama’s Bryce Young and Kentucky’s Will Lewis to be the top quarterback.

Stroud’s decision isn’t all that surprising given his position. But as he waited to announce, hope grew among Ohio State fans that he could return for the 2023 season.

“The process was complicated.” Stroud said in a statement“And the decision is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. As a child, I dreamed of playing football at the highest level and after much prayer, I decided it was time to turn those dreams into reality. reality”.

By going to the NFL and being a top-five pick, he’s essentially guaranteed $35 million on his first contract.

Stroud, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, finishes his Ohio State career with a 21-4 record as a starter and Ohio State’s 16 passing yards and total offense records. He has consistently been one of the sport’s most dynamic players over the past two seasons as he finished with 85 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Stroud saved his most dynamic collegiate performance for his final game, considering the opponent and the stakes, as he looked to upset the Buckeyes over Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Stroud finished with four touchdowns, no interceptions and 348 passing yards. He even showed some flashes of dynamism in the running game, rushing for 34 yards and showing yardage with his feet in key parts of the game. Ohio State missed a field goal on Switzer and fell 42-41 to the eventual national champions.

Stroud will leave Ohio State as one of the program’s most dynamic quarterbacks and the program’s third consecutive first-round pick since Justin Fields went No. 11 overall in 2021 and Dwayne Haskins No. 15 in 2019. While the head of Ohio State. coach Ryan Day became quarterbacks coach in 2017, the program had not drafted a quarterback in the first round since Art Schlichter in 1982.

Stroud hinted at this result after Ohio State’s loss to Michigan earlier this season. He lost to the Wolverines in both starts against them and realized this year that will be part of his legacy at Ohio State, which made him question his decision.

“People are going to say I’ve never won The Game, and I get it,” Stroud told reporters after November’s 45-23 loss. “People are going to say I’ve never won a Big Ten championship. I understand: When it comes down to it, I just have to eat it.”

Among the records Stroud will leave Ohio State with is total offense in a game, as he had 583 yards of total offense against Utah in last season’s Rose Bowl. He set five Rose Bowl records in that 48-45 victory, including passing yards (573), touchdown passes (six) and points caught (36).


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