COLUMBUS — Shaun Wade spent two years as one of the best cornerbacks in the Big Ten.
Now, he’ll have to begin the process of proving he can do the same in the NFL. Wade declared for the NFL Draft on Friday morning, making his decision to leave the Buckeyes after an All-American campaign this season.
His decision was first confirmed on his Instagram account.
“Despite all the challenges we’ve faced over the past year, I am thankful and blessed that I had the opportunity to compete in the 2020 season with my teammates,” Wade said. “For that, I will be forever thankful. This 2020 season has been extremely vigilant and made me realize the work I need to put forth in my upcoming endeavors.
“After much prayer and careful consideration, I have decided to forego any remaining eligibility that I have and declare for the 2021 NFL draft.”
After becoming a star in the slot cornerback position during the 2019 run to the College Football Playoff, Wade chose to return to Columbus for another chance at a national championship and an opportunity to prove he can excel as an outside cornerback. He became the latest Buckeyes defensive back to claim All-American honors this season and was named the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year.
But those accolades didn’t come without criticism and on-field struggles, such as his performances against Penn State and Indiana and the team defensive performance in the national championship game against Alabama.
As the season wore on, Wade saw his draft stock begin to slip, and he went from a sure-first-round pick to an unknown prospect entering this draft cycle, leading some to believe there was a possibility of Wade returning yet again for another chance to prove himself.
“You know, I do want to come back and everything,” Wade said after the national title loss to Alabama, in which the secondary he leads was gashed for 464 passing yards. “I’ve got to talk to my parents. It is upsetting that we got here and we just didn’t accomplish the goal, and that’s just been my goal, winning a national championship and just winning big games like this.
“I’ll just go back with my parents, go talk to them and just go from there.”
After sitting down and weighing his options, Shaun Wade has officially entered the NFL draft.
And he’ll go from All-American at Ohio State to heavily-analyzed in the draft process.