SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It was no shock that Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins on Monday announced his decision to enter the NFL draft, just as it will be no surprise if his teammates Chase Young and Jeff Okudah do the same.
But one player the Buckeyes had wondered about, right guard Wyatt Davis, confirmed after the Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson that he would return to school for a fourth season rather than apply for early entry into the draft.
Davis, a redshirt sophomore, will join center Josh Myers and left tackle Thayer Munford, who announced last week that they planned to remain in school — a significant boost for the offensive line.
Asked Saturday if he was 100% certain about his return, Davis said, “Yes.”
Speaking with reporters in the locker room following the Buckeyes' 29-23 loss, Davis said a need for further experience and physical development under strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti factored into his decision.
“I feel there's a lot of stuff here I still haven't done yet,” Davis said. “I feel like another year, through Coach Mick's training and going through everything in this program, I would be a lot better prepared than if I left this year.”
Davis started two games in the 2018 season, the Big Ten championship game and Rose Bowl, but took over as the full-time starter at right guard in 2019.
He will remain paired alongside Myers, a third-year sophomore who also started for the first time this season. Left guard Jonah Jackson, a graduate transfer from Rutgers, and senior right tackle Branden Bowen are departing.
Coach Ryan Day said they had formed the best interior offensive line in the nation and were a reason Dobbins became the school's first player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season.
Davis said he will benefit from Myers' return.
“It'll definitely help a lot,” he said. “This was (our) first year starting together. Now we got the game experience. And the only thing we can do next year is enhance it.”
Draft decisions are expected over the next three weeks from other players, including two All-Americans, cornerback Okudah and defensive end Young. Both are juniors. Defensive back Shaun Wade, who is eligible to enter the draft as a third-year sophomore, is expected to announce his decision Saturday in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.
The deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft is Jan. 20.
Though Young is widely expected to enter the draft, where he is considered a possible first or second overall pick, he remained mum on his future throughout the season. Before the Fiesta Bowl, he said he would settle his plans once the season ended.
“It's a decision that you got to make with your family and a decision that, right now where we are, you're not even really worried about,” he said. “Because you got one game, possibly two games, left, and those are the biggest games of your career. I feel like whole decision can wait until after the season.”
Tight end commits
Sam Hart, a three-star tight end prospect from suburban Denver, announced his commitment to Ohio State on Monday, giving the Buckeyes seven verbal commitments for their class of 2021.
Hart is rated as the nation's 15th-best tight end prospect, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.
With the 2020 recruiting class largely finalized during the early signing period this month, much of the coaching staff's efforts have shifted toward recruiting for the next cycle in 2021.
The 2021 class is currently atop the national rankings for both 247Sports and Rivals.