COLUMBUS — Shaun Wade came back for another season at Ohio State with a detailed mission.
He’ll leave without having had the chance to accomplish them.
Wade did become a captain for the Buckeyes early last month, adding one more achievement to his resumé shortly before the Big Ten pulled the plug on the fall season. But that cancellation kept him from going out to prove he could be a lockdown outside cornerback, kept him from becoming an All-American selection and kept him from chasing the national championship that he wanted so desperately.
There’s still a chance the Buckeyes could play at some point this year. But they’ll do so without Wade, who confirmed his intentions to opt out of the season and declare for the NFL Draft with a social-media post on Monday.
“I want to do it to show I can play outside corner, I want to do it for the team and I want to win a national championship,” Wade told Lettermen Row last year when announcing his return for another season. “I feel like we’re going to have a great team next year, and I feel like we’re going to be elite. I want to be part of it.
“It was tough, but at the end of the day I feel like I made the right decision for me.”
Wade obviously didn’t get the outcome he wanted, and it would have been almost impossible to predict back in January that his ejection in the Fiesta Bowl would be his last meaningful action with the Buckeyes.
The world has obviously been turned upside down since then, and the ongoing uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of a plan from the Big Ten has pushed top draft-eligible players like Wade out the door before they envisioned.
That moment has arrived now for Shaun Wade, and his career at Ohio State is officially over.