Today has been an up-and-down day for the Ohio State football team when it comes to NFL draft decisions.
Hours after safety Kurt Coleman made his intentions to stay at OSU for a senior season known, wideout Brian Hartline – not surprisingly, according to most rumors swirling – made public his choice to test NFL waters and forgo his senior campaign as a Buckeye.
“I am thrilled to declare my eligibility for the National Football League draft,” he said in a statement. “I have had an outstanding experience at OSU and am thankful for the support I continue to receive. I now look forward to testing myself against the top competitors in the National Football League. ”
Hartline spent two years as a starter at Ohio State and also was a key reserve on the 2006 team that made the national championship game.
The Canton GlenOak star finished his career with 90 catches for 1,449 yards and 12 touchdowns. He returned another punt for a 90-yard touchdown, a Buckeye record, against Kent State in 2007.
“Everyone involved within The Ohio State University football program has done a tremendous job for me,” he said. “I want to thank all of them, particularly Coach Tressel, for helping me to succeed as both a student and an athlete during my time here. I would especially like to thank the media and the fans of Ohio for being great to me and to my family throughout my career.”
After a serious leg injury robbed him of his final year of high school football in 2004, Hartline redshirted at OSU in 2005 before chipping in as a reserve on that ’06 team. As the team’s fourth wide receiver, Hartline played in every game and caught 17 passes for 256 yards and two scores, both against Northwestern. He also made a name for himself as a kamikaze special teams gunner who once knocked Indiana’s Marcus Thigpen out of the game.
Once Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez went pro following the 2006 season, Hartline became a starter and had an excellent 2007 campaign. He caught 52 passes for 694 yards and six scores.
This past season, Hartline’s production dropped to 21 catches for 479 yards and four touchdowns, though he made some of the team’s biggest catches of the year, including two touchdowns during Terrelle Pryor’s debut as a starter, a long highlight-reel grab against Michigan State and two more scores against Michigan.
Hartline also was a member of the CoSIDA academic all-district team and a Big Ten all-academic selection during his career.
He joins Chris Wells as Buckeye underclassmen to declare their intentions to enter the NFL draft.