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With the Big Ten potentially on the precipice of announcing its return to play plans, another Ohio State star is opting out.
Shaun Wade, the Buckeyes’ star cornerback, announced Monday morning that he won’t suit up for OSU whenever the Big Ten next plays football. Instead, Wade will declare for the 2021 NFL draft and begin preparing for his professional career. He could end up being a first-round pick.
“This has been an extremely difficult decision to make, but I know it's the right decision for me,” Wade said in a video posted to Twitter. “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty surrounding our season I have decided to forgo my remaining eligibility and officially declare for the 2021 NFL draft. I am forever grateful to Buckeye Nation and looking forward to the next chapter.”
Thank you Buckeye Nation!
Forever a Buckeye! pic.twitter.com/VFjKukLpLV
— Shaun Wade (@shaunwade24) September 14, 2020
Wade was a five-star recruit in the 2017 class who combined for 57 tackles, 14 pass deflections and four interceptions over the last two seasons. He mulled leaving Columbus for the NFL draft after the 2019 season, but opted to return for his redshirt junior season. He was named a team captain earlier this year and was expected to move to an outside cornerback position after mainly defending the slot the past two years.
Instead, Wade has decided to get a jumpstart on his pro career just as the Big Ten’s presidents and chancellors are on the verge of voting to reverse the decision they made in August to postpone fall sports due to uncertainty about COVID-19.
The proposed start date for the Big Ten, when its voted on, is expected to be weekend of Oct. 17. There's flexibility built in for that to be pushed back, if needed. https://t.co/M6tr4BcFd8
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 13, 2020
Wade’s father led parent protest of Big Ten decision
In Wade’s case, it’s worth noting that his father Randy was perhaps the most outspoken critic — among parents, at least — of the Big Ten’s decision to postpone the season. He even led a protest outside Big Ten headquarters looking for answers.
Randy Wade told Yahoo Sports’ Henry Bushnell that he led the protest in an effort to get “transparency” from the Big Ten, which, at that point, had been roundly criticized for the lack of information it presented to back up its decision to postpone fall sports.
“When we say, ‘Let us play,’ we don't necessarily mean play for the fall,” Wade said at the protest. “When we say, ‘Let us play,’ we mean, show us transparency. When we say, ‘Let us play,’ we mean, communicate. When we say ‘Let us play,’ we mean, our kids are important to us.”
Wade is the second Ohio State star to opt out in recent days. Wyatt Davis, an offensive lineman, announced his decision on Friday.
“My family and I were waiting to hear any good news that there would be a possibility to play in the fall,” Davis told Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel. “As the weeks went on, after the initial cancellation, the news didn’t seem in favor that we would have an opportunity to play for a national championship if there was a season. At this point, my family and I made the decision that it would be my best decision to take the next step.”
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