OSU’s Stroud declares for NFL draft

COLUMBUS – C.J. Stroud let the clock run down to the final day and then did the expected when he declared for the 2023 NFL draft on Monday.

“This process has been difficult and the decision one of the toughest I’ve ever had to make,” Stroud said in the announcement of his decision on social media.

“As a kid I dreamed of playing football at the highest level and after much prayer I’ve made the decision that it’s time to turn those dreams into reality. With that said, I am declaring for the NFL draft. This isn’t goodbye…Buckeye for life!” he said.

Monday was the last day college athletes could enter the NFL draft. There had been speculation Stroud was considering returning to Ohio State for a third season as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback.

CBSSports.com ranks the former 5-star recruit as the No. 2 quarterback in this year’s draft behind Alabama’s Bryce Young. Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Stroud third among quarterbacks behind Kentucky’s Will Levis and Young.

Stroud passed for 3,688 yards and 41 touchdowns with six interceptions this season. Last season he had 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns with six interceptions. OSU was 11-2 in both of his seasons as a starter.

If Stroud is picked in the top 10 of this year’s draft he would become only the second OSU quarterback to be taken in the top 10. Art Schlichter was the No. 4 overall choice in 1982 by the Indianapolis Colts.

Ohio State’s two starting quarterbacks before Stroud both were selected in the top 15 the year they entered the draft. Dwayne Haskins went to the Washington Commanders at No. 15 in 2019. Justin Fields was drafted at No. 11 by the Chicago Bears in 2021.

Ohio State’s No. 2 quarterback last season, Kyle McCord, and freshman Devin Brown will now compete for the Buckeyes’ starting job.

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.