Dwayne Haskins Jr.’s departure from Ohio State after only one season as starter went from longshot at the beginning of the season to likely as he became a Heisman Trophy finalist.

When former five-star prospect Justin Fields announced his transfer on Friday, any lingering doubt all but vanished. On Monday, Haskins made it official, declaring for the NFL draft.

“Buckeye Nation, I would like to thank you for everything,” Haskins posted on Twitter. “You have made this experience a blessing. As a young kid, I had dreams of playing at The Ohio State University since the age of 10 years old. God has blessed me with an opportunity to go achieve another dream. The NFL.

“After many thoughts and prayers with family and close friends, I have decided to declare for the 2019 NFL draft. To my coaches, teammates and friends that I’ve made at this prestigious university, THANK YOU! To Buckeye Nation, what an unbelievable experience. I love this university and will support it for the rest of my life.”

Haskins is regarded as the top quarterback prospect as teams begin to form their draft boards.

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Haskins, a redshirt sophomore from Potomac, Maryland, first made a splash when he rallied the Buckeyes to a comeback victory against Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2017 after J.T. Barrett was injured. That proved to be merely a prelude.

He prevailed over Joe Burrow, who subsequently transferred to LSU, and Tate Martell during their competition in spring practice. Haskins quickly entered the Heisman conversation once the season started.

He’s blessed with a strong, accurate arm, which was a given. His leadership skills took longer to emerge. Haskins has a laid-back personality, but he has immense inner confidence. He said during the season that he hadn’t gotten nervous for a game since early in his sophomore season in high school.

Aided by a deep, talented and experienced receiving corps, Haskins broke almost every significant Ohio State and Big Ten single-season passing record. His 50 touchdown passes is the sixth-most in Football Bowl Series history.

Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes for 4,831 yards this season in leading the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl victory. He averaged 13.0 yards per completion and threw only eight interceptions.

For a player who dreamed of becoming the Buckeyes’ quarterback since he was a boy, it was a dream come true. But he also dreamed of becoming an NFL quarterback. Now that’s close to reality, too.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

@brdispatch