NEW YORK — Ohio State All-American Curtis Samuel is giving up his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.
Samuel posted a goodbye message on Twitter on Monday.
“The passion of Buckeye Nation has made my experience at The Ohio State University unforgettable,” Samuel wrote. “I have been honored to have amazing and incredibly talented teammates who are my friends for life.”
Samuel’s high school coach, Danny Landberg of Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn, New York , told The Associated Press that Samuel was going back and forth on whether to return for his senior season, but decided this weekend to leave. Landberg said Samuel received a second-round grade from the NFL’s college advisory committee.
“I wish he had stayed and gotten his degree and been a Heisman Trophy candidate next season, but every time I came up with a good reason to stay he had a well-thought-out reason to leave,” Landburg said by phone. “He has really matured. I’m really proud of the way he’s grown.”
The 5-foot-11, 197-pound Samuel was the Buckeyes’ best offensive player in 2016. Playing a hybrid receiver-running back position, the junior had 1,636 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. He was the only player in the country to have at least 700 yards rushing (771) and 800 receiving (865). He was a first-team All-America all-purpose player.
He also scored the winning touchdown on a 15-yard sweep in double overtime to beat Michigan 30-27.
Landberg said Samuel was concerned about the wear and tear on his body from another season of college football.
Samuel is the fifth Ohio State player to declare for early entry, joining All-America safety Malik Hooker, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, receiver Noah Brown and cornerback Gareon Conley.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett, a fifth-year senior, has said will be back for another season at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes (11-2) lost to Clemson 31-0 in the College Football Playoff semifinals last week.
Ohio State Urban Meyer is also making staff changes on offense, having let go of quarterback coach Tim Beck.
Meyer already has added San Francisco 49ers assistant Ryan Day as quarterbacks coach, and former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson reportedly could become Ohio State’s next offensive coordinator.
North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky declares for NFL draft
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — After wavering whether to stay or go, North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky is entering the NFL draft.
The junior announced his decision Monday to leave school on The Players Tribune. The move is part of a rapid rise for a player who had never started a college game until this season but is now projected as a potential first-round pick.
Trubisky said in a teleconference he wanted to “jump right in” to learning NFL offenses.
“I know I could’ve come back to North Carolina and they would’ve prepared me and got me ready for next year,” Trubisky said. “But I just feel like since the opportunity is here, the best opportunity for my career is to take the next step and develop and get ready for the NFL this way.”
In his only season as the Tar Heels’ starter, Trubisky set program records with 3,748 yards passing and 30 touchdowns, as well as for completions (304), attempts (447) and total offense (4,056).
The Mentor, Ohio native also ranked in the top 10 nationally by completing 68 percent of his passes after two seasons seeing spot duty.
“He patiently waited for his opportunity to play at UNC and when that chance came this year, he had one of best seasons in school history,” coach Larry Fedora said in a statement. “We support his decision and look forward to watching him play at the next level.”
Before the Sun Bowl loss to Stanford, Trubisky said Fedora had provided NFL feedback projecting him as a first-round pick. Afterward, Trubisky said, he consulted further with his college and high school coaches and kept wavering before deciding late last week.
Trubisky, who signed with agent Bruce Tollner, will train in California.
Trubisky’s departure will only make it tougher for UNC to rebuild its high-scoring offense with losses throughout the unit.
Nathan Elliott threw nine passes in four games as Trubisky’s backup as a redshirt freshman from Celina, Texas. The Tar Heels redshirted newcomers Logan Byrd of Warner Robins, Georgia; and Chazz Surratt, the 2015 Associated Press offensive player of the year in North Carolina.
The Tar Heels lose their top two tailbacks in Elijah Hood — who is also entering the NFL draft as a junior — and T.J. Logan; top receivers Ryan Switzer, Bug Howard and Mack Hollins; and seniors Lucas Crowley and Jon Heck from the line.