COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The revamping of the Ohio State offense will have to be done without its most versatile and dangerous weapon, as Curtis Samuel has elected to forgo his final season of eligibility and declare for the NFL draft.
Samuel, 20, did everything short of throwing passes for the Buckeyes during his breakout junior campaign, leading the team in receptions, accounting for more than 1,600 combined yards as a rusher and receiver and scoring 15 touchdowns.
Samuel even took a few snaps as a Wildcat quarterback as his H-back role and influence continued to expand this season, and replacing his production won't be easy for the Buckeyes as he moves on.
"I arrived in Columbus in 2014 as a Brooklyn boy excited for the opportunity of playing college football on the biggest stage," Samuel posted on social media on Monday. "As I reflect on the past three years, I am very proud of our accomplishments. ... I have decided to realize my dream and enter the 2017 NFL draft."
Samuel will be joined in the NFL by a handful of Buckeyes who have already made their intentions public, including another target in the passing game after Noah Brown declared for the draft Saturday. Along with the departure of senior Dontre Wilson, the Buckeyes will lose their three most productive receivers this season at the same time Urban Meyer has made improving the passing attack his top offseason priority following the shutout loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff.
The Buckeyes will have veteran quarterback J.T. Barrett back to lead the offense, and Meyer has already made one hire by bringing in Ryan Day to coach the quarterbacks and reportedly is looking to bring in former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson as a potential offensive coordinator.
But Samuel's decision will loom large for the Buckeyes moving forward as they try to find a way to replace his multipurpose ability at a crucial position in Meyer's system.