Ohio State's Washington enters NFL draft

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ohio State cornerback Donald Washington announced today that he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Washington becomes the third Buckeyes junior to turn pro, joining running back Chris "Beanie" Wells and wide receiver Brian Hartline. Like Hartline, Washington probably didn't improve his draft stock this season but feels a part of the sizable senior class departing the program.

After being suspended for the first two games this fall for undisclosed reasons, Washington appeared in the team's final 11 contests, starting one. He had 22 tackles to go along with an interception and a 44-yard fumble return against Michigan State, but he lost his starting job to sophomore Chimdi Chekwa.

In a statement, Washington said he made a "difficult and emotional decision" to turn pro.

"I will especially, and most importantly, miss all of my teammates and brothers," Washington said. "I wish them nothing but the best and continued success. I would also like to give my word that I will uphold the Buckeye tradition of doing my best off the field, as well as my best in competing with the premier athletes around the world on the field in the NFL."

Chekwa likely would have entered 2009 as the starter, but Washington's departure combined with the graduation losses of Malcolm Jenkins and Shaun Lane thins out the Buckeyes' depth at the cornerback spot.