Here is the statement which Hartline released to the media:
"I am thrilled to declare my eligibility for the National Football League draft.
"Everyone involved within The Ohio State University football program has done a tremendous job for me. I want to thank all of them, particularly Coach Tressel, for helping me to succeed as both a student and an athlete during my time here.
"I would especially like to thank the media and the fans of Ohio for being great to me and to my family throughout my career.
"I have had an outstanding experience at OSU and am thankful for the support I continue to receive. I now look forward to testing myself against the top competitors in the National Football League."While it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Hartline was going to leave, and valid justifications exist for his decision, as a Buckeye fan it's easy to be selfish and wish that he would have returned for his remaining year. However, considering all the factors, leaving is probably the best option for Hartline at this point.
Make no bones about it, I don't think Hartline gets drafted on the first day. I'm sure a number of Buckeyes' fans out there are making arguments about how Hartline could come back, put up impressive numbers and move into day one of the draft. But honestly, I just don't see that happening. Look at Hartline's statistics over the past two seasons:
- 2007: 52 Receptions, 694 Yards, 13.3 YPC, 6 TDs
- 2008: 21 Receptions, 479 Yards, 21.8, 4 TDs
Hartline is getting married this spring. He's close with a number of the graduating Seniors on the team. He hasn't really exhibited any of the leadership qualities that makes me think that we're losing a valuable captain off next year's team. He will be remembered as a solid, but rather average OSU receiver. As a Buckeye fan, we need to wish him the best as he moves towards the draft and hope that he has another career to fall back upon we he gets cut in training camp.
On the other hand, Coleman's decision to return is a reassuring one for the Buckeyes and their fans. Here is the statement which he released today :
"After a lot of thought and study, I have decided to remain at Ohio State for the 2009 season to complete my degree and my college football career.
"I am extremely blessed to be in the position where these opportunities are possible, and I'm very grateful for the support of my family, my teammates and the Ohio State community.
"My decision to come back is a lot about helping this team. I feel we can do anything next year. We have a lot of great leaders coming back and an excellent group of underclass talent. For me personally, my family and I felt this was the best decision for me, to make my career at Ohio State even better than it has already been.
"I have a lot to prove to myself and a lot of things I want to accomplish. With one more year here, I can attain all those goals."Unlike Hartline, Coleman has the potential to increase his draft stock in the coming season. According to Plain Dealer Buckeye expert Doug Lesmerises, Coleman has a chance to improve his play into a first round pick next year. And while the Buckeyes have young depth at the wide receiver position, they lack such depth in their secondary. With the departure of both James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins, the Buckeyes are going to need a vocal leader on the defensive side of the ball. Coleman not only seems capable of filling that role, he seems to embrace it. And as a third-year starter, he can set the tone for the younger players. Coleman had 4 Ints this season, and I would look for more big plays to come next year.
On a final note, yesterday 5-Star DE Corey Adams chose ASU over OSU for his college career. I can't fault Corey's decision as he decided to stay close to home and attend college with his high school teammates and girlfriend. I'm sure the weather came into play as well. His decision just goes to show how impressive Tressel is as a recruiter when he can talk players into playing at OSU. Unless born a Buckeye's fan or from the area (Beanie or Teddy Ginn and all the Glenville kids for example) - a school like Florida or USC has to be much more desirable to a stud high school kid (in terms of weather and "scenery"). Kudos to Tressel for continuing to bring in the talent.(Images from Buckeye Banter