Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan says he's turning pro

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For the third time in as many days, Ohio State is losing a defender to the NFL draft, with star linebacker Raekwon McMillan adding his name to the list of departures.

The loss of the junior captain isn't likely to come as much of a surprise for the Buckeyes, who have watched McMillan lead the team in tackles for the last two years, posting consecutive All-Big Ten campaigns and twice earning second-team All-America honors in the process. His individual numbers were down slightly this season from his breakout sophomore year, but McMillan was widely regarded by the Buckeyes as the centerpiece and most important factor for one of the nation's best defenses this season.

"It was a difficult decision," McMillan posted in announcing his decision on Twitter. "But I have chosen to forego my senior season and declare for the 2017 NFL draft. "Thank you for the incredible experience. I wish we could have got the job done for you Buckeye Nation."

Ohio State came up short in his last game with the program, a blowout loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. But McMillan still made his impact felt, racking up 15 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a sack as he closed out his productive career with the Buckeyes.

Defensive backs Malik Hooker and Gareon Conley announced their plans to turn pro earlier this week, already opening three key starting jobs on that side of the ball for the Buckeyes this offseason.