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Ohio State defensive end Tyreke Smith puts off NFL draft, returns to Ohio State

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Tyreke Smith (11) tackles Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) on a run in the third quarter during the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.

Tyreke Smith is returning to Ohio State for his senior season, providing a significant boost to the Buckeyes’ pass rush in 2021.

Smith announced he was putting off entering the NFL draft on Monday night following the last day for draft-eligible underclassmen to submit paperwork to the league for early entry to the draft.

"The adversity that took place this last season was difficult and challenging," Smith wrote in a Twitter graphic, referring to the coronavirus pandemic-shortened season, "but I'm thankful for everything because it shaped me into a better person physically and mentally. It's truly a blessing to have the opportunity for the 2021 NFL draft however...I will be returning to Ohio State for my senior season. There's still unfinished business that needs to be taken care of."

While he had only one sack this past season, the defensive end from Cleveland often hurried opposing quarterbacks, finishing with 33 total pressures that were the second-most on the team behind Jonathon Cooper, who totaled 34, according to Pro Football Focus.

Smith received All-Big Ten honorable mention recognition in his season as a full-time starter, lining up opposite Cooper.

He did not play in last week’s national championship game loss to Alabama after he was among a dozen players listed as unavailable by the team for the College Football Playoff final.

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman