Pentello and Gibson Leaving, Heyward and Chekwa Staying
The Columbus Dispatch reported this morning that Rocco Pentello will be transferring while the Ohio State Athletics website reported Thaddeus Gibson would be declaring for the NFL draft. Later in the day, Buckeye fans found out that two starting juniors in Cameron Heyward and Chimdi Chekwa were returning for their final years of eligibility.
By Steve Patterson
Rocco Pentello told Head Coach Jim Tressel and the coaching staff that he plans to transfer to Ashland University were he will have two more years of eligibility. Pentello wasn’t able to crack the two deep at the safety position while at Ohio State for three years. He is excited about the possibility of playing quarterback for Ashland, a position he excelled at for his high school, Westerville North in Central Ohio.
Cameron Heyward released a statement through the university that he intends to stay at Ohio State for his final senior year instead of going into the NFL draft this spring. The news is very good for Ohio State as Heyward led the Buckeyes in sacks this season with 7.5 plus 11 tackles of loss. His statement:
"I am excited about next season and am looking forward to being one of the senior leaders of our team. I sat down and talked at length with my family about my situation, and they totally support my decision. I've been blessed to this point. I am just having fun being a college student.
"I learned a lot from seniors like Doug (Worthington) and Kurt (Coleman) and all they were able to accomplish during their senior year. I would love to be a part of Buckeye tradition like that. I think the upside is very positive.
"I want to help our team achieve the goals of winning another Big Ten title and possibly accomplishing a national championship. If I could win some recognition, that would be great as well. I think I can be a leader for our team, and I know another season will help me become a better player."
Chekwa wants to return for his final year so the Buckeyes can accomplish another Big Ten title and make a run for the National Championship next season. He is one of the two returning cornerbacks for the Buckeyes and has 27 starts in his three year career. His statement:
"I am not ready to leave Ohio State, and I am looking forward to my senior season. I prayed about this decision and talked about it with my parents, and I know this is the right decision for me.”
"I will graduate next fall, and I am looking forward to being a leader on what can be a very special defense for the Buckeyes. After the Rose Bowl win, we are working toward accomplishing more great things, including another Big Ten title and a run at the national championship."
Gibson choose to enter the 2010 NFL draft instead of coming back for his senior season. Gibson has been a great pass rush threat off the edge with a team leading 13 tackles for loss this year. His statement:
"I would like to thank Coach Tressel, Coach Fickell, Coach Heacock, Shelly Poe, and the entire Ohio State football staff, as well as my mother, brother and of course God, for helping me to have the opportunity to enter the draft, and for the support from my teammates, alumni, and Ohio State fans across the nation."
Gibson said he has "grown a lot from his experience at Ohio State," crediting the January 1 Rose Bowl win over Oregon as one of his most memorable Ohio State experiences.
"I am not leaving the Buckeye family. I wish the team the very best in the upcoming years and I thank all my teammates for all their support. I will keep in touch with my Buckeye family and I love them all. I will always bleed Scarlet and Gray."